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BLOOD TRANSFUSIONS BIBLICAL UNDERSTANDING


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BLOOD TRANSFUSIONS

Watchtower Teaching WT forbids blood transfusions because of Genesis 9:4 ‘But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat’.

The WT teaches that a blood transfusion is the same as eating blood, because it resembles intravenous feeding. This doctrine was invented in 1944.

Bible Teaching and Historical facts:
1) Thousands of JWs and their children have died because they followed this WT error.
QUESTION: Would you really allow your baby to die because of this WT instruction?

2) Most JWs are unaware that their leaders have a history of making medical prohibitions,then later changing their minds to allow them. Examples include:

(i) Vaccinations were forbidden by the WT from 1931 to 1952. JWs had to refuse vaccinations because the WT taught that ‘vaccination is a direct violation of the everlasting covenant that God made’ (Golden Age, 4 Feb 1931, p 293).

Awake of 22 Aug 1965 admitted that vaccinations have caused a decrease in diseases(p.20)
QUESTION: How did the parents of children who died from not being vaccinated, feel when the WT reversed its view in 1952? How many of these children died needlessly?

(ii) Organ transplants were allowed by the WT up to 1967, but were forbidden in 1967 saying that ‘organ transplants amounted to cannibalism and are not appropriate for Christians’ (WT, 15 Nov 1967, p 702-4, and Awake 8 June 1968, p 21). Hence all organ
transplants were forbidden for 13 years, during which time many JWs died needlessly.

Then in 1980, the WT changed its mind to allow them saying that ‘organ transplants are not necessarily cannibalistic’ (WT, 15 March 1980, p 31).

(iii) Blood plasma and blood particles were forbidden to be used by JW haemophiliacs (Awake, 22 Feb 1975, p 30). Shortly after, the WT changed its mind to permit certain blood particles to be used, but failed to put it into print for 3 years until 15 June 1978, p
30 (WT). Only those haemophiliacs who phoned WT headquarters from 1975-78 discovered the change. Others were left to suffer and die.
QUESTION: How long before the WT changes its view on blood transfusions?

QUESTION: Why does the WT keep changing its mind on medical issues?

QUESTION: Is it right for an infallible prophet of God organisation (such as the WT claims to be) to keep changing its mind.

(iv) In 1984, they allowed for a bone-marrow transplant. Bone marrow is the very source of blood. However, they would disfellowship you for receiving a bloodtransfusion.

3) In Genesis 9:4 the context is God forbidding the eating of animal blood (as pagans did), not the transfusion of human blood. A blood transfusion is not intravenous feeding, because the blood so given does not function as food. When one gives a transfusion, it is not a loss of life, but a transference of life from one person to another. It replenishes and saves a life.

QUESTION: Since blood is not taken in as food to digest, but as life sustaining fluid, is it not clear that transfusion is different from eating?

4) Leviticus 3:17 ‘You must not eat any fat or any blood at all.’ (NWT)
QUESTION: Why do WT leaders forbid blood transfusions but allow the eating of fat? Why not forbid both? The WT is not consistently interpreting the Bible. Leviticus 17:11,12: ‘For the life of the flesh is in the blood’. Blood transfusion does not function as food, but simply transfers life from one person to another as an act of mercy.

Key: Leviticus 3:17 prohibits eating animal blood, not transfusing human blood.

QUESTION: Where is loss of salvation mentioned in Acts 15:9,11 for receiving a blood transfusion?

Key: Acts 15:28,29. A blood transfusion uses blood for the same purpose that God intended, (as a life-giving agent in the bloodstream). Drinking blood is not God’s intended purpose for
blood

Conclusion: Even though JWs try to support blood transfusions with Scripture, their real reason for believing it is blind obedience to the WT. If the WT organisation lifted its ban on blood transfusions, JWs would freely accept them if needed.

For the WT to admit they were wrong would cause too great a stir in their ranks. Therefore any changes must be presented as ‘new light’ in order to make it appear that ‘Jehovah’ is making the changes, rather than a few men on the governing body.
 

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You stated, " Acts 15:28,29. A blood transfusion uses blood for the same purpose that God intended, (as a life-giving agent in the bloodstream). Drinking blood is not God’s intended purpose forblood."  I am about to quote Hannah J Paul from Yahoo Answers! to show you how Acts 15:28, 29 shows why blood transfusions are unbiblical. She states: This question was just asked and answered. Why ask it again? I’ll answer again as hopefully, will others.  Humans want to live; life is a won

Blood was only to be poured out on the ground if a life was taken. It was to ensure the animal was properly dead and, when used as part of ritual sacrifice, was symbolic of atonement for sins. Seeing as no life is being taken when blood for transfusion is being donated, and that it is not being used for religious purposes or for food, but it is being used for what God originally designed it for, those Scripture texts and the intent behind them do not apply.

I completely understand why a Christian would refuse a blood transfusion, but I can also understand why a Christian would take one in an emergency life-or-death scenario. We are only human and weak, and it seems very unloving to disfellowship someone if they take a transfusion out of fear for their life. At the end of the day, isn't this choice between a Christian and Jehovah God? Is it really necessary for the organization to meddle in this private medical choice? I can understand why the organ

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QUESTION: Would you really allow your baby to die because of this WT instruction?

No. For one I do not see a situation where a baby would need a blood transfusion. Also, I do nothing because the WT says so. I look for myself and question everything they publish. I am in agreement with about 95% of things published. Normally my disagreements are eventually gibe, because the "official" understanding went under revision. I see it that a belief must be taught in the Bible for me to follow it.

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QUESTION: How long before the WT changes its view on blood transfusions?

I don't see this view as changing. I do know that the WT has changed its views of things like vaccines, but that's because based on a study of scripture they realized there mistakes. Yes some times they go back and forth, but I think that many people change their views back and forth when it is a difficult topic. I think that perhaps the incorrect views about vaccines and organ transplant was due to not knowing all the facts. They aren't inspired prophets, you know?

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QUESTION: Why does the WT keep changing its mind on medical issues?

I cannot say with 100% surity, but it is just based on their research at the time. For example at first I believed that Jesus' new name had to be Jehovah, then I though it had to do with Isaiah 9:6, then I went back to Jehovah, then I finally came to the conclusion that no one knew his name (I just overly simplified this whole subject). I can see why one would change their view. It depends on what the people have seen in their research. It some times takes the viewpoints and evidence from many people to come up with a great answer to an important question. Also, the WT isn't infallible.

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On 4/30/2016 at 5:16 PM, Jesus.defender said:

QUESTION: Is it right for an infallible prophet of God organisation (such as the WT claims to be) to keep changing its mind.

 

I will just address the whole "prophet" part. Since typing in my phone is such a nuicance (I don't have a computer), I will just copy a post from the blog: aservantofjehovah.blogspot.com

This post states:

Suppose I had access to everything you had done or said since you were a little child, stored on a computer.  It would be a simple matter for me to pick out a hundred or two hundred of the worst things you’d said and done over the course of your life, to write them up in a list with dates, times and places and then to proclaim, in the same way as a correspondent did in one of his emails to me: “The question is not what you have got wrong, but whether you got anything right.”  On the other hand, by a similar process of selecting the 100-200 kindest, most generous, loving things you’d done, I could equally make you look like a saint.  Both pictures would be true in a sense, but neither would be the whole truth.  Why is this important?

The WatchtowerIn the last 125 years, Jehovah’s Witnesses have published literally millions of words in publications such as The Watchtower.  This includes powerful arguments against atheism and the theory of evolution, eloquent defences of the Bible as the inspired word of God, articles upholding the Bible’s stance on moral issues such as abortion, fornication, adultery and homosexual lifestyles.  Watchtower publications have long exhorted their readers to display Christian qualities and imitate Jesus.  They have shown how applying the Bible’s counsel can benefit family life.  Through  The Watchtower, millions of people have been comforted by the Bible’s message of hope.

You might expect that evangelical Christian organizations would happily applaud most of the above.  After all, evangelical Christians believe in God and reject evolution, consider the Bible to be God’s inspired word, oppose sexual sins and abortion.  They, too, speak of the need to imitate Jesus and display Christlike qualities.  You would expect, then, that evangelical Christian groups could find a lot of positive things to say about The Watchtower.  You’d think they’d congratulate Jehovah’s Witnesses for energetically spreading the above-mentioned views              throughout the world and in literally hundreds of languages.  But you would be wildly wrong.

An analysis of quotations from The Watchtower and other Jehovah’s Witness publications made by evangelical Christian writers - particularly on the Internet, but also in print - reveals that, far from commending Witness literature for all the positive material they publish, these writers consistently attack Jehovah’s Witnesses and actively seek anything that could possibly be used to discredit them - including many things published more than 100 years ago!

You could compare their attitude with that of a man who visits one of the world’s most beautiful cities - say Vienna.  Instead of touring the most attractive parts of the city, though, this man visits the Municipal Garbage Dump and photographs the rubbish there.  Then he goes to the industrial area and photographs the factories.    Everywhere he goes he looks for the ugliest, most sordid parts of the city.  Making copious use of close-ups to highlight the least attractive parts and using the most unflattering camera angles, he ensures his pictures give the worst possible impression.  Then, on his return home, he shows the photographs to his friends, to convince them that Vienna is the most awful city in the world.

In resorting to similar tactics, critics of Witness publications immediately reveal their bias.  The Watchtower Society is their ideological opponent, to be defeated at all costs.  They comb through old Watchtowers, going back as far as 130 years.  They take whatever suits their purpose and ignore the rest.  They rip quotes out of their context, attempting to make it look as though they say much more than they actually meant.  Why do they do it?  They do it because it is their job to do it!  In short, they are far from being an objective source of information.

Frankly, few Jehovah's Witnesses are likely to be taken in by such chicanery.  It is easy to detect an agenda behind this type of mudslinging.  Just about anyone who wanted to believe it has already done so.  And as for the rest of us, what hasn't killed us has made us stronger.

But we should not reject a person’s criticism simply because we feel it is wrongly motivated.  Prejudiced and hate-filled people can sometimes be at least partially right.  As Christians, we should be discerning, remembering the admonition of the proverb, “anyone inexperienced puts faith in every word.”  (Proverbs 14:15)  With that in mind, let us examine the assertions commonly made in anti-Witness literature concerning the Witnesses’ alleged “false prophecies”.

Taken Out of Context

 We have not the gift of prophecy 

Zion's Watch Tower, July 1883.

The standard technique of critics appears to be to present a list of alleged “false prophecies”, the  longer the better.  There are dozens of such lists on the Internet.  These take the form of quotations from The Watchtower and other Witness publications.

Whereas the majority of the quotes themselves are accurate, the context in which they were presented - both the immediate context of the printed page and the historical context - is omitted.  Selective quotations ensure that anything that gives the impression of certainty is usually included, whereas any cautionary statements are omitted.


We are not for a moment denying that the publications - in particular the earlier ones -  have at times published information that was speculative in nature and turned out to be mistaken.  But the fact is that, for each of the dates commonly touted by critics as ‘false prophecies’ (1874, 1914, 1925, 1975), Watch Tower publications had published cautionary statements to the effect that it was by no means certain what would happen.  Consider, for example, the following statements, which emphasise that the basis for the conclusions was Bible study not some message from God:[1]


With regard to 1874:  It should be noted that ‘The Watchtower’ was not published until 1879 and Russell himself did not become aware of the 1874 date until 1876!  So it was hardly a matter of a failed prediction. 


With regard to 1914: :  "We are not prophesying; we are merely giving our surmises . . . We do not even aver that there is no mistake in our interpretation of prophecy and our calculations of chronology. We have merely laid these before you, leaving it for each to exercise his own faith or doubt in respect to them" (emphasis added).[2]


With regard to 1925: "The year 1925 is here. With great expectation Christians have looked forward to this year. Many have confidently expected that all members of the body of Christ will be changed to heavenly glory during this year. This may be accomplished. It may not be. In his own due time God will accomplish his purposes concerning his people. Christians should not be so deeply concerned about what may transpire this year."[3]


With regard to 1975: ‘What about the year 1975? What is it going to mean, dear friends?’ asked Brother Franz. ‘Does it mean that Armageddon is going to be finished, with Satan bound, by 1975? It could! It could! All things are possible with God. Does it mean that Babylon the Great is going to go down by 1975? It could. Does it mean that the attack of Gog of Magog is going to be made on Jehovah’s witnesses to wipe them out, then Gog himself will be put out of action? It could. But we are not saying. All things are possible with God. But we are not saying. And don’t any of you be specific in saying anything that is going to happen between now and 1975.[4]


Charles Taze RussellIt’s obvious, therefore, that the situation was by no means as clear-cut as Watchtower opposers would have us believe.  By omitting these more cautionary statements, many of which are in the same articles as the quotations they like to print, enemies of Jehovah’s Witnesses give a misleading picture of events and endeavour to make a suggested interpretation look like a prophecy.


No Claim of Inspiration


Not to be overlooked is the larger context of the role of the Watch Tower publications.  Whereas Watchtower writers undoubtedly pray for God’s blessing on their work and sincerely believe that God answers these prayers, they make no pretensions of being inspired, infallible or perfect.  Consider the following extracts from Watch Tower publications, which prove that this is the case.  (This is just a small selection of examples.  Many more could be cited, but care has been taken to include at least one example for every decade since The Watchtower began to be published.)

1870s: We do not object to changing our opinions on any subject, or discarding former applications of prophecy, or any other scripture, when we see a good reason for the change,—in fact, it is important that we should be willing to unlearn errors and mere traditions, as to learn truth.... It is our duty to "prove all things."—by the unerring Word,—"and hold fast to that which is good."

1880s: “We have not the gift of prophecy.”[5]

 We do not even aver that there is no mistake in our interpretation of prophecy and our calculations of chronology.

Zion's Watch Tower, 1908

1890s: Nor would we have our writings reverenced or regarded as infallible, or on a par with the holy Scriptures. The most we claim or have ever claimed for our teachings is that they are what we believe to be harmonious interpretations of the divine Word, in harmony with the spirit of the truth. And we still urge, as in the past, that each reader study the subjects we present in the light of the Scriptures, proving all things by the Scriptures, accepting what they see to be thus approved, and rejecting all else. It is to this end, to enable the student to trace the subject in the divinely inspired Record, that we so freely intersperse both quotations and citations of the Scriptures upon which to build.[6]


1900s:  It is not our intention to enter upon the role of prophet to any degree, but merely to give below what seems to us rather likely to be the trend of events—giving also the reasons for our expectations.[7]


Someone may ask, Do you, then, claim infallibility and that every sentence appearing in "The Watch Tower" publications is stated with absolute correctness? Assuredly we make no such claim and have never made such a claim. What motive can our opponents have in so charging against us? Are they not seeking to set up a falsehood to give themselves excuse for making attacks and to endeavor to pervert the judgments of others?[8]


1910s:  However, we should not denounce those who in a proper spirit express their dissent in respect to the date mentioned [1914] and what may there be expected . . . We must admit that there are possibilities of our having made a mistake in respect to the chronology, even though we do not see where any mistake has been made in calculating the seven times of the Gentiles as expiring about October 1, 1914.[9]


1920s: Many students have made the grievous mistake of thinking that God has inspired men to interpret prophecy. The holy prophets of the Old Testament were inspired by Jehovah to write as his power moved upon them. The writers of the New Testament were clothed with certain power and authority to write as the Lord directed them. However, since the days of the apostles no man on earth has been inspired to write prophecy, nor has any man been inspired to interpret prophecy.[10]


1930s: We are not a prophet; we merely believe that we have come to the place where the Gentile times have ended[11]


1940s: This pouring out of God's spirit upon the flesh of all his faithful anointed witnesses does not mean those now serving as Jehovah's Witnesses are inspired. It does not mean that the writings in this magazine The Watchtower are inspired and infallible and without mistakes. It does not mean that the president of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society is inspired and infallible, although enemies falsely charge us with believing so.... But we confess with the Scriptures that the day of such inspiration passed long before 1870, as the apostle Paul showed it would. . . . Inspired speaking and writing passed away with the last of the twelve apostles, by whom the gifts of the spirit were imparted to others. Yet God is still able to teach and lead us. While confessing no inspiration for today for anyone on earth, we do have the privilege of praying God for more of his holy spirit and for his guidance of us by the bestowal of his spirit through Jesus Christ.[12]


1950s: The Watchtower does not claim to be inspired in its utterances,nor is it dogmatic. It invites careful and critical examination of its contents in the light of the Scriptures.[13]


1960s: The book [Life Everlasting in Freedom of Sons of God] merely presents the chronology. You can accept it or reject it[14]


Our chronology, however, ... is reasonably accurate (but admittedly not infallible)[15]

 Don't any of you be specific in saying anything that is going to happen between now and 1975

F. W. Franz, quoted in The Watchtower, 15 October 1966, page 231.

1970s: In this regard, however, it must be observed that this “faithful and discreet slave” was never inspired, never perfect. Those writings by certain members of the “slave” class that came to form the Christian part of God’s Word were inspired and infallible, but that is not true of other writings since. Things published were not perfect in the days of Charles Taze Russell, first president of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society; nor were they perfect in the days of J. F. Rutherford, the succeeding president. The increasing light on God’s Word as well as the facts of history have repeatedly required that adjustments of one kind or another be made down to the very present time.[16]


1980s: It is not claimed that the explanations in this publication are infallible. Like Joseph of old, we say: “Do not interpretations belong to God?” (Genesis 40:8) At the same time, however, we firmly believe that the explanations set forth herein harmonize with the Bible in its entirety, showing how remarkably divine prophecy has been fulfilled in the world events of our catastrophic times.[17]


1990s: Those who make up the one true Christian organization today do not have angelic revelations or divine inspiration. But they do have the inspired Holy Scriptures, which contain revelations of God’s thinking and will. As an organization and individually, they must accept the Bible as divine truth, study it carefully, and let it work in them.[18]


2000s: Although the slave class is defined as “faithful and discreet,” Jesus did not say that it would be infallible. This group of faithful anointed brothers still consists of imperfect Christians. Even with the best of intentions, they can be mistaken, as such men sometimes were in the first century.[19]


It’s therefore quite clear that Jehovah’s Witnesses make no claim to divine inspiration for their publications.  Thus, the critics' assertion that “the Watch Tower claims to be an inspired prophet” is manifestly false. 


Did Haydon Covington concede that the Watch Tower is a False Prophet?


Did Haydon Covington concede in the Walsh trial that the Watch Tower Society has promulgated false prophecy, as is stated by critics?  Even if he had done so, what would that have proved?  If Covington had said that the thought the Society was a false prophet, then he would have been mistaken, that is all.  However, a look at the court record (even as it is quoted on anti-Witness web pages) shows that Covington did nothing of the sort. 


 Critics' allegations that 'The Watchtower claims to be an inspired prophet' are manifestly false

The court records show that Covington said: “I do not think we have promulgated false prophecy ... there have been statements that were erroneous, that is the way I put it, and mistaken.”  When asked hypothetically if it would have been a false prophecy if the Society had authoritatively promulgated 1874 as the date for the return of Christ’s coming, Covington himself pointed out that this was only an assumption, and is then is recorded as having said the words “I agree that”.  This is an incomplete sentence in English.  Now it could very well be that he was interrupted and was not intending to agree that a false prophecy had been made.  If we take the court to read “I agree to that”, he was simply agreeing hypothetically that the Society would have been guilty of false prophecy under a certain set of circumstances, namely if it had promulgated as authoritative that Christ returned in 1874.  Now the records show that Covington had not studied the Society’s literature relating to 1874, saying “you are speaking of a matter that I know nothing of.”  So, Covington’s comments, viewed in their proper context do not prove the point Witness critics are trying to make.  Covington certainly did not mean that the Society was responsible for a false prophecy, as he had just a few moments earlier stated the very opposite.   And as we have seen, the Society did not ‘authoritatively promulgate’ 1874 as the date, it merely presented it to its readers to decide for themselves.


Of course, Witnesses do believe that God is using them - and their publications - to accomplish his work.  But that is not the same as believing that God personally directs the writing of Watchtower Publications in the way that he inspired the Bible.  The above quotations - and many others - show that at no time in the history of the organization has it claimed to be God’s prophet, inspired or infallible.[20]


It is evident here that critics are setting up a straw man argument.  In other words, they are imputing to Watch Tower a position that it does not claim for itself and then refuting that position, instead of the Society’s actual position.  This is really nothing but a dishonest debating trick.

Thus, the Watch Tower quotations, taken in context and stripped of all hyperbole and rhetoric, establish basically one thing only: that Watch Tower publications have on a number of occasions presented interpretations of Bible prophecies which later turned out to be incorrect.  It is not possible to argue on the basis of the Watchtower literature that (1) the Society claims that its literature is inspired of God or infallible, (2) that it claimed to speak in the name of God as a prophet.

Admittedly, it would certainly have been better for all concerned had the publications refrained from publishing such speculative interpretations, which doubtless led to disappointment for many.  ‘The Watchtower’, far from covering over these facts, has admitted openly that this is the case, as is seen from the following extract from The Watchtower.

In its issue of July 15, 1976, The Watchtower, commenting on the inadvisability of setting our              sights on a certain date, stated: “If anyone has been disappointed through not following this line of thought, he should now concentrate on adjusting his viewpoint, seeing that it was not the word of God that failed or deceived him and brought disappointment, but that his own understanding was based on wrong premises.” In saying “anyone,” The Watchtower included all disappointed ones of Jehovah’s Witnesses, hence including persons having to do with the publication of the information that contributed to the buildup of hopes centered on that date.[21]


Thus the Watch Tower Society has recognised that it was a mistake to speculate.  But was it the only ever religious organization to make such a mistake?


Double Standards and Bigotry


If Jehovah’s Witnesses have had mistaken expectations about the fulfillment of Bible prophecies, they are far from alone.  Many other students of the Bible - including some highly respected Catholic and Protestant writers - have made similar mistakes to Jehovah’s Witnesses.  Whole books have been written on the subject of predictions that failed to come true, but let’s look at just three examples from the world of Protestantism: Martin Luther, John Wesley and Billy Graham.


Protestant leader Martin Luther, believed that the end would come in his day.  He believed theMartin Luther Turkish war would be "the final wrath of God, in which the world will come to an end and Christ will come to destroy Gog and Magog and set free His own"?[22] and that "Christ has given a sign by which one can know when the Judgment Day is near. When the Turk will have an end, we can certainly predict that the Judgment must be at the door"[23]


John WesleyMethodist founder John Wesley wrote: "1836 The end of the non-chronos, and of the many kings; the fulfilling of the word, and of the mystery of God; the repentance of the survivors in the great city; the end of the 'little time,' and of the three times and a half; the destruction of the east; the imprisonment of Satan."[24]

In 1950, Billy Graham, the well-known US evangelist, told a rally in LosBilly GrahamAngeles: “I sincerely believe that the Lord draweth nigh.  We may have another year, maybe two years, to work for Jesus Christ, and, Ladies and Gentlemen, I believe it is all going to be over ... two years and it’s all going to be over.”[25]

If it had been Jehovah’s Witnesses who had said the things that Luther, Wesley and Graham proclaimed, these proclamations would have been added to the list of quotations supposedly proving McLoughlin, William G., 1978 Revivals, Awakenings and Reform. University of Chicago Press. Chicago. pp.185.that the Witnesses are false prophets.  Unsurprisingly, however, the sources that attack the Witnesses for false prophecy do not generally take the same position when it comes to Protestant figures who have made very similar errors.

This should give all of us food for thought.  If a newspaper editor were to publish in his paper all the crimes committed by members of just one ethnic group or race, dwelling on them in great detail, even repeatedly bringing up very old offences, but at the same time, ignoring all the crimes committed by members of another group (perhaps his own), then thinking people who looked at the facts would conclude that he was nothing but a bigot. What are we to think, then, when certain ones opposed to Jehovah’s Witnesses constantly harp on what they incorrectly and maliciously term “false prophecies” of the organization, reproducing ad nauseam the same quotations from Watch Tower literature, the majority of which were published almost 100 years ago, while remaining deadly silent about all similar errors by those who share their theological convictions?  Is the word ‘bigoted’ any less appropriate?  At any rate, their agenda is obvious and respect for the truth is not high on their list of priorities.


 Were Martin Luther, John Wesley and Billy Graham false prophets?

I do not think that the comments of Luther, Wesley or Graham make them false prophets, for the same reason that I don’t accept that the Watch Tower is a false prophet, namely, that interpreting Bible prophecy is not the same as prophesying.

Prophecy and Interpretation

It is true that Jehovah’s Witnesses believe they are being guided by God.  But, ‘guidance’ is a much broader concept than ‘inspiration’.  True, inspiration is a form of guidance, but it is only one form.   In this regard, Stafford makes a very telling point:

It cannot truthfully be said that to be inspired by God to produce flawless information is the same as being guided or lead by a flawless source, whether that source be the Scriptures or an angel sent by God. Why? Because in the former case the person is taken over by God, given a vision, revelation (sometimes in a dream), or put into a trance. The person then receives God's thoughts and will which are then channelled through the individual, providing information he or she would otherwise not have known. However, in the latter case one could simply misunderstand or ignore the directions given, which would make the accuracy of what they do or say dependent upon whether or not they correctly understood the inspired source.[26]

“Prophecy” involves much more than simply predicting the future.  It involves claiming to have a message directly from God.  It is not the same as interpreting events or even interpreting the prophetic parts of the Bible.  Russell understood this and that is why he said: “The most we claim or have ever claimed for our teachings is that they are what we believe to be harmonious interpretations of the divine Word, in harmony with the spirit of the truth”, adding “we are far from claiming any direct plenary inspiration”[27]


 The Watch Tower Society is not a false prophet, for the simple reason that it is not a prophet. 

Similarly, when Wesley drew the conclusion that the end would come in 1836, he did so on the basis of his understanding of the Bible.  Of course, this understanding turned out to be completely and utterly wrong, but that does not make him a false prophet.  When Billy Graham stated in 1950 that the end would come within two years, he was not claiming that God had personally spoken to him through a dream or a vision.  He was just stating what he believed after comparing world events with what he knew from the Bible.  No charitable person would accuse Graham of being a false prophet because of that (although it is obvious that he did make an error of judgment).  Likewise, when Luther stated that the Turkish war would lead to the end of the world, he was woefully mistaken, but that certainly does not make him a false prophet.  Incidentally, Luther, on the basis of his understanding of the Bible, also contradicted Copernicus and insisted that the earth was the centre of the universe! [28]

Thus, the Watch Tower Society is not a false prophet, for the simple reason that it is not a prophet.  It makes no claim that any of its members have heard voices from God,  seen visions or in any other way been directly influenced to make a certain proclamation beyond what is in the Bible.  It has made mistakes in explaining or interpreting parts of the Bible, but as we have seen, so have other religious organizations.

Conclusion

On the basis of the above, critics of Jehovah's Witnesses have some questions to answer:

(1) Do they think it is truthful and fair to focus on a minute selection of the Watch Tower’s published material - the most negative part - and ignore everything else?

(2) Can they cite the Watch Tower publication where the Society claims to be an “inspired prophet” (their expression, not ours).  On what do they base that conclusion, and how do they explain the dozens of quotations I have presented from the Society’s literature - from all periods of its history - where the Society denies that?[29]

(3) Why do they present the Watchtower’s statements about future events as prophetic statements, rather than what they really were - interpretations?

(4) Do they believe that others who have had mistaken expectations, including Martin Luther, John Wesley and Billy Graham, are false prophets, and if not, why not?

Jehovah’s Witnesses do not believe that they should be above honest criticism and have not hidden the fact that they have made errors in their interpretations.  But honest criticism implies respect for truth - the whole truth, not just extracts taken out of context and twisted to give an impression that they were never intended to give.

Beware of half truths.  You might end up believing the wrong half!


Footnotes and References


[1]  I am grateful to other Witness writers for bringing many of these citations to my attention.  Additionally, the book Jehovah’s Witnesses Defended, Second Edition [JWD2] by Greg Stafford contains extensive research on this matter.  Quotations from publications after 1950 are generally taken from the Watchtower Library 2003 CD-ROM.  Almost all Russell’s writings are freely available on the Internet.

[2]  Zion's Watch Tower, January 1, 1908 (reprint) page 4110

[3]  The Watch Tower, January 1, 1925, page 3.

[4]  The Watchtower, 15 October 1966, page 631.

[5]  Zion’s Watch Tower, January 1883, page 425.

[6]  Zion 's Watch Tower and Herald of Christ's Presence, 15 December 1896, reprint, 2080 (emphasis added).

[7]  "Views From the Watch Tower," Zion's Watch Tower and Herald of Christ's Presence, 1 March 1904, reprint, 3327 (emphasis added).

[8]  Zion's Watch Tower and Herald of Christ's Presence, 15 September 1909, reprint, 4473.

[9]  The Watch Tower and Herald of Christ's Presence, 15 November 1913, repr. 5348 (emphasis added).

[10]  Prophecy (Brooklyn: Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, 1929), 61-62 (emphasis added).

[11]  Light, vol. 1 (Brooklyn: Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, 1930), 194 (emphasis added).

[12]  The Watchtower, 15 May 1947, pp. 157-8.

[13]  "Name and Purpose of the Watchtower," The Watchtower, 15 August 1950, 262-263 (emphasis added)

[14]  The Watchtower, 15 October 1966, page 631.

[15]  The Watchtower, 15 August 1968, page 499.

[16]  The Watchtower, 1 March 1979, page 23-24.

[17]  Revelation - Its Grand Climax at Hand, page 9. (Published 1988)

[18]  Jehovah’s Witnesses - Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom, page 708 (Published 1993)

[19]  The Watchtower, 1 December 2002, page 17.

[20]  Occasionally, The Watchtower  (for example 1 April 1972) has referred to true Christians (not specifically to the writers of Watch Tower publications) as “prophets”.  However, the word is placed in inverted commas, which shows that it is not meant literally.  The 1972 article is simply drawing parallels between experiences in the life of the prophet Ezekiel and those of Christians today as they fulfil Christ’s commission to preach to all the nations.  This sense of the word ‘prophecy’ is recognised by many ‘mainstream’ Christians., Billy Graham’s biography is called “A prophet with Honor” .  Pope John Paul II spoke  of ‘the ‘prophetic office’ of the People of God - meaning their responsibility to give a Christian witness. (http://www.catholic-forum.com/saints/pope0264of.htm) In view of other comments (cited in the main article) in which the Society specifically repudiates prophet status, both before and after this article was published, attempts to use this article to demonstrate that the Watch Tower Society claims to be an inspired prophet are obviously misrepresenting the sense of the article.

[21] The Watchtower, 15 March 1980, page 17-18.

[22]  John T. Baldwin, "Luther's Eschatological Appraisal of the Turkish Threat in Eine Heerpredigt -wider den Tuerken [Army Sermon Against the Turks],"Andrews University Seminary Studies 33.2 (Autumn 1995), 196.

[23]  Ibid, p. 201.

[24]

    Hello guest!

[25]  McLoughlin, William G., 1978 Revivals, Awakenings and Reform. University of Chicago Press. Chicago. pp.185.  See also “US News and World Report” (December 19, 1994)

[26] Jehovah’s Witnesses Defended, Second Edition, pp. 462-3.

[27]  Zion's Watch Tower and Herald of Christ's Presence, 15 July 1899, reprint, 2506

[28]  Luther is also quoted on certain websites as having said that Jesus would return 300 years from his time.  (The Familiar Discourses of Dr. Martin Luther, trans. by Henry Bell and revised by Joseph Kerby [London: Baldwin, Craddock and Joy, 1818], pp. 7,8.)  I have not been able to verify this source, although I have no reason to doubt it.

[29] A computer search for the expression “inspired prophet” on the Watchtower 2003 CD-ROM (containing The Watchtower) since 1950 plus most other publications, revealed that the expression came up 44 times. Every single              occurrence was referring to a Bible writer.

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On 4/30/2016 at 5:16 PM, Jesus.defender said:

QUESTION: Is it right for an infallible prophet of God organisation (such as the WT claims to be) to keep changing its mind.

 

I will just address the whole "prophet" part. Since typing in my phone is such a nuicance (I don't have a computer), I will just copy a post from the blog: aservantofjehovah.blogspot.com

This post states:

Suppose I had access to everything you had done or said since you were a little child, stored on a computer.  It would be a simple matter for me to pick out a hundred or two hundred of the worst things you’d said and done over the course of your life, to write them up in a list with dates, times and places and then to proclaim, in the same way as a correspondent did in one of his emails to me: “The question is not what you have got wrong, but whether you got anything right.”  On the other hand, by a similar process of selecting the 100-200 kindest, most generous, loving things you’d done, I could equally make you look like a saint.  Both pictures would be true in a sense, but neither would be the whole truth.  Why is this important?

The WatchtowerIn the last 125 years, Jehovah’s Witnesses have published literally millions of words in publications such as The Watchtower.  This includes powerful arguments against atheism and the theory of evolution, eloquent defences of the Bible as the inspired word of God, articles upholding the Bible’s stance on moral issues such as abortion, fornication, adultery and homosexual lifestyles.  Watchtower publications have long exhorted their readers to display Christian qualities and imitate Jesus.  They have shown how applying the Bible’s counsel can benefit family life.  Through  The Watchtower, millions of people have been comforted by the Bible’s message of hope.

You might expect that evangelical Christian organizations would happily applaud most of the above.  After all, evangelical Christians believe in God and reject evolution, consider the Bible to be God’s inspired word, oppose sexual sins and abortion.  They, too, speak of the need to imitate Jesus and display Christlike qualities.  You would expect, then, that evangelical Christian groups could find a lot of positive things to say about The Watchtower.  You’d think they’d congratulate Jehovah’s Witnesses for energetically spreading the above-mentioned views              throughout the world and in literally hundreds of languages.  But you would be wildly wrong.

An analysis of quotations from The Watchtower and other Jehovah’s Witness publications made by evangelical Christian writers - particularly on the Internet, but also in print - reveals that, far from commending Witness literature for all the positive material they publish, these writers consistently attack Jehovah’s Witnesses and actively seek anything that could possibly be used to discredit them - including many things published more than 100 years ago!

You could compare their attitude with that of a man who visits one of the world’s most beautiful cities - say Vienna.  Instead of touring the most attractive parts of the city, though, this man visits the Municipal Garbage Dump and photographs the rubbish there.  Then he goes to the industrial area and photographs the factories.    Everywhere he goes he looks for the ugliest, most sordid parts of the city.  Making copious use of close-ups to highlight the least attractive parts and using the most unflattering camera angles, he ensures his pictures give the worst possible impression.  Then, on his return home, he shows the photographs to his friends, to convince them that Vienna is the most awful city in the world.

In resorting to similar tactics, critics of Witness publications immediately reveal their bias.  The Watchtower Society is their ideological opponent, to be defeated at all costs.  They comb through old Watchtowers, going back as far as 130 years.  They take whatever suits their purpose and ignore the rest.  They rip quotes out of their context, attempting to make it look as though they say much more than they actually meant.  Why do they do it?  They do it because it is their job to do it!  In short, they are far from being an objective source of information.

Frankly, few Jehovah's Witnesses are likely to be taken in by such chicanery.  It is easy to detect an agenda behind this type of mudslinging.  Just about anyone who wanted to believe it has already done so.  And as for the rest of us, what hasn't killed us has made us stronger.

But we should not reject a person’s criticism simply because we feel it is wrongly motivated.  Prejudiced and hate-filled people can sometimes be at least partially right.  As Christians, we should be discerning, remembering the admonition of the proverb, “anyone inexperienced puts faith in every word.”  (Proverbs 14:15)  With that in mind, let us examine the assertions commonly made in anti-Witness literature concerning the Witnesses’ alleged “false prophecies”.

Taken Out of Context

 We have not the gift of prophecy 

Zion's Watch Tower, July 1883.

The standard technique of critics appears to be to present a list of alleged “false prophecies”, the  longer the better.  There are dozens of such lists on the Internet.  These take the form of quotations from The Watchtower and other Witness publications.

Whereas the majority of the quotes themselves are accurate, the context in which they were presented - both the immediate context of the printed page and the historical context - is omitted.  Selective quotations ensure that anything that gives the impression of certainty is usually included, whereas any cautionary statements are omitted.


We are not for a moment denying that the publications - in particular the earlier ones -  have at times published information that was speculative in nature and turned out to be mistaken.  But the fact is that, for each of the dates commonly touted by critics as ‘false prophecies’ (1874, 1914, 1925, 1975), Watch Tower publications had published cautionary statements to the effect that it was by no means certain what would happen.  Consider, for example, the following statements, which emphasise that the basis for the conclusions was Bible study not some message from God:[1]


With regard to 1874:  It should be noted that ‘The Watchtower’ was not published until 1879 and Russell himself did not become aware of the 1874 date until 1876!  So it was hardly a matter of a failed prediction. 


With regard to 1914: :  "We are not prophesying; we are merely giving our surmises . . . We do not even aver that there is no mistake in our interpretation of prophecy and our calculations of chronology. We have merely laid these before you, leaving it for each to exercise his own faith or doubt in respect to them" (emphasis added).[2]


With regard to 1925: "The year 1925 is here. With great expectation Christians have looked forward to this year. Many have confidently expected that all members of the body of Christ will be changed to heavenly glory during this year. This may be accomplished. It may not be. In his own due time God will accomplish his purposes concerning his people. Christians should not be so deeply concerned about what may transpire this year."[3]


With regard to 1975: ‘What about the year 1975? What is it going to mean, dear friends?’ asked Brother Franz. ‘Does it mean that Armageddon is going to be finished, with Satan bound, by 1975? It could! It could! All things are possible with God. Does it mean that Babylon the Great is going to go down by 1975? It could. Does it mean that the attack of Gog of Magog is going to be made on Jehovah’s witnesses to wipe them out, then Gog himself will be put out of action? It could. But we are not saying. All things are possible with God. But we are not saying. And don’t any of you be specific in saying anything that is going to happen between now and 1975.[4]


Charles Taze RussellIt’s obvious, therefore, that the situation was by no means as clear-cut as Watchtower opposers would have us believe.  By omitting these more cautionary statements, many of which are in the same articles as the quotations they like to print, enemies of Jehovah’s Witnesses give a misleading picture of events and endeavour to make a suggested interpretation look like a prophecy.


No Claim of Inspiration


Not to be overlooked is the larger context of the role of the Watch Tower publications.  Whereas Watchtower writers undoubtedly pray for God’s blessing on their work and sincerely believe that God answers these prayers, they make no pretensions of being inspired, infallible or perfect.  Consider the following extracts from Watch Tower publications, which prove that this is the case.  (This is just a small selection of examples.  Many more could be cited, but care has been taken to include at least one example for every decade since The Watchtower began to be published.)

1870s: We do not object to changing our opinions on any subject, or discarding former applications of prophecy, or any other scripture, when we see a good reason for the change,—in fact, it is important that we should be willing to unlearn errors and mere traditions, as to learn truth.... It is our duty to "prove all things."—by the unerring Word,—"and hold fast to that which is good."

1880s: “We have not the gift of prophecy.”[5]

 We do not even aver that there is no mistake in our interpretation of prophecy and our calculations of chronology.

Zion's Watch Tower, 1908

1890s: Nor would we have our writings reverenced or regarded as infallible, or on a par with the holy Scriptures. The most we claim or have ever claimed for our teachings is that they are what we believe to be harmonious interpretations of the divine Word, in harmony with the spirit of the truth. And we still urge, as in the past, that each reader study the subjects we present in the light of the Scriptures, proving all things by the Scriptures, accepting what they see to be thus approved, and rejecting all else. It is to this end, to enable the student to trace the subject in the divinely inspired Record, that we so freely intersperse both quotations and citations of the Scriptures upon which to build.[6]


1900s:  It is not our intention to enter upon the role of prophet to any degree, but merely to give below what seems to us rather likely to be the trend of events—giving also the reasons for our expectations.[7]


Someone may ask, Do you, then, claim infallibility and that every sentence appearing in "The Watch Tower" publications is stated with absolute correctness? Assuredly we make no such claim and have never made such a claim. What motive can our opponents have in so charging against us? Are they not seeking to set up a falsehood to give themselves excuse for making attacks and to endeavor to pervert the judgments of others?[8]


1910s:  However, we should not denounce those who in a proper spirit express their dissent in respect to the date mentioned [1914] and what may there be expected . . . We must admit that there are possibilities of our having made a mistake in respect to the chronology, even though we do not see where any mistake has been made in calculating the seven times of the Gentiles as expiring about October 1, 1914.[9]


1920s: Many students have made the grievous mistake of thinking that God has inspired men to interpret prophecy. The holy prophets of the Old Testament were inspired by Jehovah to write as his power moved upon them. The writers of the New Testament were clothed with certain power and authority to write as the Lord directed them. However, since the days of the apostles no man on earth has been inspired to write prophecy, nor has any man been inspired to interpret prophecy.[10]


1930s: We are not a prophet; we merely believe that we have come to the place where the Gentile times have ended[11]


1940s: This pouring out of God's spirit upon the flesh of all his faithful anointed witnesses does not mean those now serving as Jehovah's Witnesses are inspired. It does not mean that the writings in this magazine The Watchtower are inspired and infallible and without mistakes. It does not mean that the president of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society is inspired and infallible, although enemies falsely charge us with believing so.... But we confess with the Scriptures that the day of such inspiration passed long before 1870, as the apostle Paul showed it would. . . . Inspired speaking and writing passed away with the last of the twelve apostles, by whom the gifts of the spirit were imparted to others. Yet God is still able to teach and lead us. While confessing no inspiration for today for anyone on earth, we do have the privilege of praying God for more of his holy spirit and for his guidance of us by the bestowal of his spirit through Jesus Christ.[12]


1950s: The Watchtower does not claim to be inspired in its utterances,nor is it dogmatic. It invites careful and critical examination of its contents in the light of the Scriptures.[13]


1960s: The book [Life Everlasting in Freedom of Sons of God] merely presents the chronology. You can accept it or reject it[14]


Our chronology, however, ... is reasonably accurate (but admittedly not infallible)[15]

 Don't any of you be specific in saying anything that is going to happen between now and 1975

F. W. Franz, quoted in The Watchtower, 15 October 1966, page 231.

1970s: In this regard, however, it must be observed that this “faithful and discreet slave” was never inspired, never perfect. Those writings by certain members of the “slave” class that came to form the Christian part of God’s Word were inspired and infallible, but that is not true of other writings since. Things published were not perfect in the days of Charles Taze Russell, first president of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society; nor were they perfect in the days of J. F. Rutherford, the succeeding president. The increasing light on God’s Word as well as the facts of history have repeatedly required that adjustments of one kind or another be made down to the very present time.[16]


1980s: It is not claimed that the explanations in this publication are infallible. Like Joseph of old, we say: “Do not interpretations belong to God?” (Genesis 40:8) At the same time, however, we firmly believe that the explanations set forth herein harmonize with the Bible in its entirety, showing how remarkably divine prophecy has been fulfilled in the world events of our catastrophic times.[17]


1990s: Those who make up the one true Christian organization today do not have angelic revelations or divine inspiration. But they do have the inspired Holy Scriptures, which contain revelations of God’s thinking and will. As an organization and individually, they must accept the Bible as divine truth, study it carefully, and let it work in them.[18]


2000s: Although the slave class is defined as “faithful and discreet,” Jesus did not say that it would be infallible. This group of faithful anointed brothers still consists of imperfect Christians. Even with the best of intentions, they can be mistaken, as such men sometimes were in the first century.[19]


It’s therefore quite clear that Jehovah’s Witnesses make no claim to divine inspiration for their publications.  Thus, the critics' assertion that “the Watch Tower claims to be an inspired prophet” is manifestly false. 


Did Haydon Covington concede that the Watch Tower is a False Prophet?


Did Haydon Covington concede in the Walsh trial that the Watch Tower Society has promulgated false prophecy, as is stated by critics?  Even if he had done so, what would that have proved?  If Covington had said that the thought the Society was a false prophet, then he would have been mistaken, that is all.  However, a look at the court record (even as it is quoted on anti-Witness web pages) shows that Covington did nothing of the sort. 


 Critics' allegations that 'The Watchtower claims to be an inspired prophet' are manifestly false

The court records show that Covington said: “I do not think we have promulgated false prophecy ... there have been statements that were erroneous, that is the way I put it, and mistaken.”  When asked hypothetically if it would have been a false prophecy if the Society had authoritatively promulgated 1874 as the date for the return of Christ’s coming, Covington himself pointed out that this was only an assumption, and is then is recorded as having said the words “I agree that”.  This is an incomplete sentence in English.  Now it could very well be that he was interrupted and was not intending to agree that a false prophecy had been made.  If we take the court to read “I agree to that”, he was simply agreeing hypothetically that the Society would have been guilty of false prophecy under a certain set of circumstances, namely if it had promulgated as authoritative that Christ returned in 1874.  Now the records show that Covington had not studied the Society’s literature relating to 1874, saying “you are speaking of a matter that I know nothing of.”  So, Covington’s comments, viewed in their proper context do not prove the point Witness critics are trying to make.  Covington certainly did not mean that the Society was responsible for a false prophecy, as he had just a few moments earlier stated the very opposite.   And as we have seen, the Society did not ‘authoritatively promulgate’ 1874 as the date, it merely presented it to its readers to decide for themselves.


Of course, Witnesses do believe that God is using them - and their publications - to accomplish his work.  But that is not the same as believing that God personally directs the writing of Watchtower Publications in the way that he inspired the Bible.  The above quotations - and many others - show that at no time in the history of the organization has it claimed to be God’s prophet, inspired or infallible.[20]


It is evident here that critics are setting up a straw man argument.  In other words, they are imputing to Watch Tower a position that it does not claim for itself and then refuting that position, instead of the Society’s actual position.  This is really nothing but a dishonest debating trick.

Thus, the Watch Tower quotations, taken in context and stripped of all hyperbole and rhetoric, establish basically one thing only: that Watch Tower publications have on a number of occasions presented interpretations of Bible prophecies which later turned out to be incorrect.  It is not possible to argue on the basis of the Watchtower literature that (1) the Society claims that its literature is inspired of God or infallible, (2) that it claimed to speak in the name of God as a prophet.

Admittedly, it would certainly have been better for all concerned had the publications refrained from publishing such speculative interpretations, which doubtless led to disappointment for many.  ‘The Watchtower’, far from covering over these facts, has admitted openly that this is the case, as is seen from the following extract from The Watchtower.

In its issue of July 15, 1976, The Watchtower, commenting on the inadvisability of setting our              sights on a certain date, stated: “If anyone has been disappointed through not following this line of thought, he should now concentrate on adjusting his viewpoint, seeing that it was not the word of God that failed or deceived him and brought disappointment, but that his own understanding was based on wrong premises.” In saying “anyone,” The Watchtower included all disappointed ones of Jehovah’s Witnesses, hence including persons having to do with the publication of the information that contributed to the buildup of hopes centered on that date.[21]


Thus the Watch Tower Society has recognised that it was a mistake to speculate.  But was it the only ever religious organization to make such a mistake?


Double Standards and Bigotry


If Jehovah’s Witnesses have had mistaken expectations about the fulfillment of Bible prophecies, they are far from alone.  Many other students of the Bible - including some highly respected Catholic and Protestant writers - have made similar mistakes to Jehovah’s Witnesses.  Whole books have been written on the subject of predictions that failed to come true, but let’s look at just three examples from the world of Protestantism: Martin Luther, John Wesley and Billy Graham.


Protestant leader Martin Luther, believed that the end would come in his day.  He believed theMartin Luther Turkish war would be "the final wrath of God, in which the world will come to an end and Christ will come to destroy Gog and Magog and set free His own"?[22] and that "Christ has given a sign by which one can know when the Judgment Day is near. When the Turk will have an end, we can certainly predict that the Judgment must be at the door"[23]


John WesleyMethodist founder John Wesley wrote: "1836 The end of the non-chronos, and of the many kings; the fulfilling of the word, and of the mystery of God; the repentance of the survivors in the great city; the end of the 'little time,' and of the three times and a half; the destruction of the east; the imprisonment of Satan."[24]

In 1950, Billy Graham, the well-known US evangelist, told a rally in LosBilly GrahamAngeles: “I sincerely believe that the Lord draweth nigh.  We may have another year, maybe two years, to work for Jesus Christ, and, Ladies and Gentlemen, I believe it is all going to be over ... two years and it’s all going to be over.”[25]

If it had been Jehovah’s Witnesses who had said the things that Luther, Wesley and Graham proclaimed, these proclamations would have been added to the list of quotations supposedly proving McLoughlin, William G., 1978 Revivals, Awakenings and Reform. University of Chicago Press. Chicago. pp.185.that the Witnesses are false prophets.  Unsurprisingly, however, the sources that attack the Witnesses for false prophecy do not generally take the same position when it comes to Protestant figures who have made very similar errors.

This should give all of us food for thought.  If a newspaper editor were to publish in his paper all the crimes committed by members of just one ethnic group or race, dwelling on them in great detail, even repeatedly bringing up very old offences, but at the same time, ignoring all the crimes committed by members of another group (perhaps his own), then thinking people who looked at the facts would conclude that he was nothing but a bigot. What are we to think, then, when certain ones opposed to Jehovah’s Witnesses constantly harp on what they incorrectly and maliciously term “false prophecies” of the organization, reproducing ad nauseam the same quotations from Watch Tower literature, the majority of which were published almost 100 years ago, while remaining deadly silent about all similar errors by those who share their theological convictions?  Is the word ‘bigoted’ any less appropriate?  At any rate, their agenda is obvious and respect for the truth is not high on their list of priorities.


 Were Martin Luther, John Wesley and Billy Graham false prophets?

I do not think that the comments of Luther, Wesley or Graham make them false prophets, for the same reason that I don’t accept that the Watch Tower is a false prophet, namely, that interpreting Bible prophecy is not the same as prophesying.

Prophecy and Interpretation

It is true that Jehovah’s Witnesses believe they are being guided by God.  But, ‘guidance’ is a much broader concept than ‘inspiration’.  True, inspiration is a form of guidance, but it is only one form.   In this regard, Stafford makes a very telling point:

It cannot truthfully be said that to be inspired by God to produce flawless information is the same as being guided or lead by a flawless source, whether that source be the Scriptures or an angel sent by God. Why? Because in the former case the person is taken over by God, given a vision, revelation (sometimes in a dream), or put into a trance. The person then receives God's thoughts and will which are then channelled through the individual, providing information he or she would otherwise not have known. However, in the latter case one could simply misunderstand or ignore the directions given, which would make the accuracy of what they do or say dependent upon whether or not they correctly understood the inspired source.[26]

“Prophecy” involves much more than simply predicting the future.  It involves claiming to have a message directly from God.  It is not the same as interpreting events or even interpreting the prophetic parts of the Bible.  Russell understood this and that is why he said: “The most we claim or have ever claimed for our teachings is that they are what we believe to be harmonious interpretations of the divine Word, in harmony with the spirit of the truth”, adding “we are far from claiming any direct plenary inspiration”[27]


 The Watch Tower Society is not a false prophet, for the simple reason that it is not a prophet. 

Similarly, when Wesley drew the conclusion that the end would come in 1836, he did so on the basis of his understanding of the Bible.  Of course, this understanding turned out to be completely and utterly wrong, but that does not make him a false prophet.  When Billy Graham stated in 1950 that the end would come within two years, he was not claiming that God had personally spoken to him through a dream or a vision.  He was just stating what he believed after comparing world events with what he knew from the Bible.  No charitable person would accuse Graham of being a false prophet because of that (although it is obvious that he did make an error of judgment).  Likewise, when Luther stated that the Turkish war would lead to the end of the world, he was woefully mistaken, but that certainly does not make him a false prophet.  Incidentally, Luther, on the basis of his understanding of the Bible, also contradicted Copernicus and insisted that the earth was the centre of the universe! [28]

Thus, the Watch Tower Society is not a false prophet, for the simple reason that it is not a prophet.  It makes no claim that any of its members have heard voices from God,  seen visions or in any other way been directly influenced to make a certain proclamation beyond what is in the Bible.  It has made mistakes in explaining or interpreting parts of the Bible, but as we have seen, so have other religious organizations.

Conclusion

On the basis of the above, critics of Jehovah's Witnesses have some questions to answer:

(1) Do they think it is truthful and fair to focus on a minute selection of the Watch Tower’s published material - the most negative part - and ignore everything else?

(2) Can they cite the Watch Tower publication where the Society claims to be an “inspired prophet” (their expression, not ours).  On what do they base that conclusion, and how do they explain the dozens of quotations I have presented from the Society’s literature - from all periods of its history - where the Society denies that?[29]

(3) Why do they present the Watchtower’s statements about future events as prophetic statements, rather than what they really were - interpretations?

(4) Do they believe that others who have had mistaken expectations, including Martin Luther, John Wesley and Billy Graham, are false prophets, and if not, why not?

Jehovah’s Witnesses do not believe that they should be above honest criticism and have not hidden the fact that they have made errors in their interpretations.  But honest criticism implies respect for truth - the whole truth, not just extracts taken out of context and twisted to give an impression that they were never intended to give.

Beware of half truths.  You might end up believing the wrong half!


Footnotes and References


[1]  I am grateful to other Witness writers for bringing many of these citations to my attention.  Additionally, the book Jehovah’s Witnesses Defended, Second Edition [JWD2] by Greg Stafford contains extensive research on this matter.  Quotations from publications after 1950 are generally taken from the Watchtower Library 2003 CD-ROM.  Almost all Russell’s writings are freely available on the Internet.

[2]  Zion's Watch Tower, January 1, 1908 (reprint) page 4110

[3]  The Watch Tower, January 1, 1925, page 3.

[4]  The Watchtower, 15 October 1966, page 631.

[5]  Zion’s Watch Tower, January 1883, page 425.

[6]  Zion 's Watch Tower and Herald of Christ's Presence, 15 December 1896, reprint, 2080 (emphasis added).

[7]  "Views From the Watch Tower," Zion's Watch Tower and Herald of Christ's Presence, 1 March 1904, reprint, 3327 (emphasis added).

[8]  Zion's Watch Tower and Herald of Christ's Presence, 15 September 1909, reprint, 4473.

[9]  The Watch Tower and Herald of Christ's Presence, 15 November 1913, repr. 5348 (emphasis added).

[10]  Prophecy (Brooklyn: Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, 1929), 61-62 (emphasis added).

[11]  Light, vol. 1 (Brooklyn: Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, 1930), 194 (emphasis added).

[12]  The Watchtower, 15 May 1947, pp. 157-8.

[13]  "Name and Purpose of the Watchtower," The Watchtower, 15 August 1950, 262-263 (emphasis added)

[14]  The Watchtower, 15 October 1966, page 631.

[15]  The Watchtower, 15 August 1968, page 499.

[16]  The Watchtower, 1 March 1979, page 23-24.

[17]  Revelation - Its Grand Climax at Hand, page 9. (Published 1988)

[18]  Jehovah’s Witnesses - Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom, page 708 (Published 1993)

[19]  The Watchtower, 1 December 2002, page 17.

[20]  Occasionally, The Watchtower  (for example 1 April 1972) has referred to true Christians (not specifically to the writers of Watch Tower publications) as “prophets”.  However, the word is placed in inverted commas, which shows that it is not meant literally.  The 1972 article is simply drawing parallels between experiences in the life of the prophet Ezekiel and those of Christians today as they fulfil Christ’s commission to preach to all the nations.  This sense of the word ‘prophecy’ is recognised by many ‘mainstream’ Christians., Billy Graham’s biography is called “A prophet with Honor” .  Pope John Paul II spoke  of ‘the ‘prophetic office’ of the People of God - meaning their responsibility to give a Christian witness. (http://www.catholic-forum.com/saints/pope0264of.htm) In view of other comments (cited in the main article) in which the Society specifically repudiates prophet status, both before and after this article was published, attempts to use this article to demonstrate that the Watch Tower Society claims to be an inspired prophet are obviously misrepresenting the sense of the article.

[21] The Watchtower, 15 March 1980, page 17-18.

[22]  John T. Baldwin, "Luther's Eschatological Appraisal of the Turkish Threat in Eine Heerpredigt -wider den Tuerken [Army Sermon Against the Turks],"Andrews University Seminary Studies 33.2 (Autumn 1995), 196.

[23]  Ibid, p. 201.

[24]

    Hello guest!

[25]  McLoughlin, William G., 1978 Revivals, Awakenings and Reform. University of Chicago Press. Chicago. pp.185.  See also “US News and World Report” (December 19, 1994)

[26] Jehovah’s Witnesses Defended, Second Edition, pp. 462-3.

[27]  Zion's Watch Tower and Herald of Christ's Presence, 15 July 1899, reprint, 2506

[28]  Luther is also quoted on certain websites as having said that Jesus would return 300 years from his time.  (The Familiar Discourses of Dr. Martin Luther, trans. by Henry Bell and revised by Joseph Kerby [London: Baldwin, Craddock and Joy, 1818], pp. 7,8.)  I have not been able to verify this source, although I have no reason to doubt it.

[29] A computer search for the expression “inspired prophet” on the Watchtower 2003 CD-ROM (containing The Watchtower) since 1950 plus most other publications, revealed that the expression came up 44 times. Every single              occurrence was referring to a Bible writer.

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QUESTION: Since blood is not taken in as food to digest, but as life sustaining fluid, is it not clear that transfusion is different from eating?

Of course it is not the same thing as eating. Never once does the WT say that it is. Normally verses like that are quoted for the purpose of showing the sanctity of blood. 

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You stated, " Acts 15:28,29. A blood transfusion uses blood for the same purpose that God intended, (as a life-giving agent in the bloodstream). Drinking blood is not God’s intended purpose for
blood." 

I am about to quote Hannah J Paul from Yahoo Answers! to show you how Acts 15:28, 29 shows why blood transfusions are unbiblical. She states:

This question was just asked and answered. Why ask it again? I’ll answer again as hopefully, will others. 

Humans want to live; life is a wondrous thing and barring very extreme circumstances (agonizing pain or deep depression), we want to hold on to it. Jehovah's Witnesses do not refuse blood transfusions because they are Jehovah's Witnesses. Catholics do not refuse to murder because they are Catholics do they? Witnesses refuse blood transfusions because we have aligned our perspective regarding the sanctity of blood and of life with God's view. In essence, this is the same reason we do not murder - we have the view of the sanctity of life that God has taught. 

Jehovah God elaborates respecting his view at Leviticus 17:11-12 and 14. In verse 11 God says "the life of the creature is in the blood and I have given it to you to make atonement for yourselves . . . it is the blood that makes atonement . . . that is why I have said to the Israelites, you must not eat the blood of any creature." [New International Version] Here he outlined the only acceptable use for blood: This of course was pointing to the greater atonement that the shed blood of Christ would make. God is the Giver of life, blood is the symbol of life. Both must be respected; any use must be within the Lifegiver's framework. Where in His framework is the allowance for the introduction of blood onto or into the body to sustain or extend life? Where in this framework can we find an exception for transfusions? 

Moreover, we read the command at Acts 15:28-29 to "abstain from . . .blood . . . and from sexual immorality." Notice the word "abstain." The meaning in the original Greek is the same as in our English: to keep oneself from, to withhold oneself from. For instance, here we are also commanded to keep ourselves from sexual immorality. The scripture is not focusing on whatever form the sexual immorality takes (and there are many), nor is it focusing on the effect of the sexual immorality. The scriptural command is to abstain from it. And so it is with blood. Some may see a marked difference between "eating" blood and taking a transfusion. But its form of delivery and its effect is not addressed by the scripture. If I refuse to eat blood through my mouth, yet I take it into my veins, can I truthfully say that I am abstaining from blood? 

It cannot be denied that those who want to help extend lives are exhibiting a loving attitude and such sincerity and concern is highly commendable. At John 10:34, Christ said that scripture cannot be nullified. This would include Acts 15:19, 20, 28, 29 and Acts 21:25 which clearly command Christians to "abstain," to "keep abstaining" and to "keep themselves" from blood. How can we be left with any other conclusion but that there is no way to accept a blood transfusion and at the same time, abstain from blood? 

There are many attempts to sustain or preserve life, yes; but every attempt is not acceptable to God. To illustrate, my next-door neighbor who has been convicted of murders in the past, has repeatedly made serious threats on my life. There is every reason to believe that, given the opportunity, he will carry out this threat. When he tries to do so, I defend my life, killing him in the process. We know this as self-defense. Now in that same scenario, instead of waiting for his attempt, I kill him first. In both instances, I took measures to sustain my life. But in the second instance, I am in the wrong because while I have every right to defend my life, I have no right to do so by carrying out a preemptive attack. What point am I trying to make? That although God gives us the right to sustain and preserve our lives, any and every method to do so is not acceptable to God. Applying that rationale to blood transfusions, I have every right to sustain and preserve my life and I am extremely grateful to the medical community which helps me do that. There is no doubt that oftentimes, blood transfusions help; there is also no doubt that oftentimes they don't, and sometimes they definitely harm. There is no need to doubt the medical professional's sincere desire to sustain and preserve life and that's what they are trained to do. But when such things as method, reasons, effect, and sincere desire to help are put aside, leaving only the fundamental act itself, we are left with the bald fact that basically, an attempt is being made to sustain or preserve life with blood. This is the key: attempting to sustain or preserve life with blood. There is nothing in scripture, explicit or implied, which would allow humans to sustain or preserve life with blood. 

People can dance around Acts 15 all they want. And they can dance around the word abstain all they want. But people who want to practice sexual immorality because it feels good will do precisely that – despite the clear condemnation of it found at Acts 15:28, 29 in God’s word the Bible. They will find a way to justify it six ways from Sunday. And they do. Everyday. “We’re in love!” “Sex between people who love each other is not bad even if they’re not married!” “We’re engaged so it’s okay.” “God wants us to feel good!” And they do the same sort of justification when it comes to blood transfusions. “It’s just a dietary law”, “abstain just means don't eat it,” “it’s okay to take it in but not eat it,” “it’s okay to take it in but not drink it,” “it’s okay to take it in but not take a bath in it,” “it’s okay to take it in but not cook with it,” “it just means animal blood, not human.” When all these artful dodges and contrivances are done – when you come back to the floor after all these gymnastics – it is quite clear that the Bible in its entirety does not allow for blood transfusions – the sustaining of life with the blood of humans. Oh yeah, when Jesus said to drink my blood and eat my flesh – it should be manifest to anyone thinking that he meant it metaphorically. How then can any reasoning person possibly point to His words and say ‘See! We can take blood transfusions!” More gymnastics. 

Hannah J Paul

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On 5/4/2016 at 4:05 AM, Gregorio Alberto said:

QUESTION: Would you really allow your baby to die because of this WT instruction?

No. For one I do not see a situation where a baby would need a blood transfusion. ...

Yikes! Maybe you need to do some research.

On 5/4/2016 at 4:34 AM, Gregorio Alberto said:

QUESTION: Since blood is not taken in as food to digest, but as life sustaining fluid, is it not clear that transfusion is different from eating?

Of course it is not the same thing as eating. Never once does the WT say that it is.

WT begs to differ.

*** w69 6/1 pp. 326-327 Godly Respect for Life and Blood ***
Some persons may reason that getting a blood transfusion is not actually “eating.” But is it not true that when a patient is unable to eat through his mouth, doctors often feed him by the same method in which a blood transfusion is administered? Examine the scriptures carefully and notice that they tell us to ‘keep free from blood’ and to ‘abstain from blood.’ (Acts 15:20, 29) What does this mean? If a doctor were to tell you to abstain from alcohol, would that mean simply that you should not take it through your mouth but that you could transfuse it directly into your veins? Of course not! So, too, abstaining from blood means not taking it into our bodies at all.
 

*** w63 2/15 p. 124 Carry Your Own Load of Responsibility ***
Someone may argue with you that the Scriptures are referring to the “eating” of blood but that blood is not taken into the digestive system during a transfusion. True, but the fact is that by a direct route the blood serves the same purpose as food when taken into the stomach, namely, strengthening the body or sustaining life. It is not the same as a vaccine given to a healthy person to ward off a disease. Blood is given to a weak or sick person to build him up, just as food is given to nourish him.
 

*** w51 7/1 p. 415 Questions From Readers ***
Many say receiving a transfusion is not like eating blood. Is this view sound?
A patient in the hospital may be fed through the mouth, through the nose, or through the veins. When sugar solutions are given intravenously, it is called intravenous feeding. So the hospital’s own terminology recognizes as feeding the process of putting nutrition into one’s system via the veins. Hence the attendant administering the transfusion is feeding the patient blood through the veins, and the patient receiving it is eating it through his veins. After all the artful contrivings and reasonings and quibblings are over, the bald fact remains that a goodly quantity of one creature’s blood has been deliberately taken into the system of another. That is what is forbidden by God, regardless of method.
 

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On 5/4/2016 at 3:17 PM, Gregorio Alberto said:

I will just address the whole "prophet" part. Since typing in my phone is such a nuicance (I don't have a computer), I will just copy a post from the blog: aservantofjehovah.blogspot.com

This post states:

Suppose I had access to everything you had done or said since you were a little child, stored on a computer.  It would be a simple matter for me to pick out a hundred or two hundred of the worst things you’d said and done over the course of your life, to write them up in a list with dates, times and places and then to proclaim, in the same way as a correspondent did in one of his emails to me: “The question is not what you have got wrong, but whether you got anything right.”  On the other hand, by a similar process of selecting the 100-200 kindest, most generous, loving things you’d done, I could equally make you look like a saint.  Both pictures would be true in a sense, but neither would be the whole truth.  Why is this important?

The WatchtowerIn the last 125 years, Jehovah’s Witnesses have published literally millions of words in publications such as The Watchtower.  This includes powerful arguments against atheism and the theory of evolution, eloquent defences of the Bible as the inspired word of God, articles upholding the Bible’s stance on moral issues such as abortion, fornication, adultery and homosexual lifestyles.  Watchtower publications have long exhorted their readers to display Christian qualities and imitate Jesus.  They have shown how applying the Bible’s counsel can benefit family life.  Through  The Watchtower, millions of people have been comforted by the Bible’s message of hope.

You might expect that evangelical Christian organizations would happily applaud most of the above.  After all, evangelical Christians believe in God and reject evolution, consider the Bible to be God’s inspired word, oppose sexual sins and abortion.  They, too, speak of the need to imitate Jesus and display Christlike qualities.  You would expect, then, that evangelical Christian groups could find a lot of positive things to say about The Watchtower.  You’d think they’d congratulate Jehovah’s Witnesses for energetically spreading the above-mentioned views              throughout the world and in literally hundreds of languages.  But you would be wildly wrong.

An analysis of quotations from The Watchtower and other Jehovah’s Witness publications made by evangelical Christian writers - particularly on the Internet, but also in print - reveals that, far from commending Witness literature for all the positive material they publish, these writers consistently attack Jehovah’s Witnesses and actively seek anything that could possibly be used to discredit them - including many things published more than 100 years ago!

You could compare their attitude with that of a man who visits one of the world’s most beautiful cities - say Vienna.  Instead of touring the most attractive parts of the city, though, this man visits the Municipal Garbage Dump and photographs the rubbish there.  Then he goes to the industrial area and photographs the factories.    Everywhere he goes he looks for the ugliest, most sordid parts of the city.  Making copious use of close-ups to highlight the least attractive parts and using the most unflattering camera angles, he ensures his pictures give the worst possible impression.  Then, on his return home, he shows the photographs to his friends, to convince them that Vienna is the most awful city in the world.

In resorting to similar tactics, critics of Witness publications immediately reveal their bias.  The Watchtower Society is their ideological opponent, to be defeated at all costs.  They comb through old Watchtowers, going back as far as 130 years.  They take whatever suits their purpose and ignore the rest.  They rip quotes out of their context, attempting to make it look as though they say much more than they actually meant.  Why do they do it?  They do it because it is their job to do it!  In short, they are far from being an objective source of information.

Frankly, few Jehovah's Witnesses are likely to be taken in by such chicanery.  It is easy to detect an agenda behind this type of mudslinging.  Just about anyone who wanted to believe it has already done so.  And as for the rest of us, what hasn't killed us has made us stronger.

But we should not reject a person’s criticism simply because we feel it is wrongly motivated.  Prejudiced and hate-filled people can sometimes be at least partially right.  As Christians, we should be discerning, remembering the admonition of the proverb, “anyone inexperienced puts faith in every word.”  (Proverbs 14:15)  With that in mind, let us examine the assertions commonly made in anti-Witness literature concerning the Witnesses’ alleged “false prophecies”.

Taken Out of Context

 We have not the gift of prophecy 

Zion's Watch Tower, July 1883.

The standard technique of critics appears to be to present a list of alleged “false prophecies”, the  longer the better.  There are dozens of such lists on the Internet.  These take the form of quotations from The Watchtower and other Witness publications.

Whereas the majority of the quotes themselves are accurate, the context in which they were presented - both the immediate context of the printed page and the historical context - is omitted.  Selective quotations ensure that anything that gives the impression of certainty is usually included, whereas any cautionary statements are omitted.


We are not for a moment denying that the publications - in particular the earlier ones -  have at times published information that was speculative in nature and turned out to be mistaken.  But the fact is that, for each of the dates commonly touted by critics as ‘false prophecies’ (1874, 1914, 1925, 1975), Watch Tower publications had published cautionary statements to the effect that it was by no means certain what would happen.  Consider, for example, the following statements, which emphasise that the basis for the conclusions was Bible study not some message from God:[1]


With regard to 1874:  It should be noted that ‘The Watchtower’ was not published until 1879 and Russell himself did not become aware of the 1874 date until 1876!  So it was hardly a matter of a failed prediction. 


With regard to 1914: :  "We are not prophesying; we are merely giving our surmises . . . We do not even aver that there is no mistake in our interpretation of prophecy and our calculations of chronology. We have merely laid these before you, leaving it for each to exercise his own faith or doubt in respect to them" (emphasis added).[2]


With regard to 1925: "The year 1925 is here. With great expectation Christians have looked forward to this year. Many have confidently expected that all members of the body of Christ will be changed to heavenly glory during this year. This may be accomplished. It may not be. In his own due time God will accomplish his purposes concerning his people. Christians should not be so deeply concerned about what may transpire this year."[3]


With regard to 1975: ‘What about the year 1975? What is it going to mean, dear friends?’ asked Brother Franz. ‘Does it mean that Armageddon is going to be finished, with Satan bound, by 1975? It could! It could! All things are possible with God. Does it mean that Babylon the Great is going to go down by 1975? It could. Does it mean that the attack of Gog of Magog is going to be made on Jehovah’s witnesses to wipe them out, then Gog himself will be put out of action? It could. But we are not saying. All things are possible with God. But we are not saying. And don’t any of you be specific in saying anything that is going to happen between now and 1975.[4]


Charles Taze RussellIt’s obvious, therefore, that the situation was by no means as clear-cut as Watchtower opposers would have us believe.  By omitting these more cautionary statements, many of which are in the same articles as the quotations they like to print, enemies of Jehovah’s Witnesses give a misleading picture of events and endeavour to make a suggested interpretation look like a prophecy.


No Claim of Inspiration


Not to be overlooked is the larger context of the role of the Watch Tower publications.  Whereas Watchtower writers undoubtedly pray for God’s blessing on their work and sincerely believe that God answers these prayers, they make no pretensions of being inspired, infallible or perfect.  Consider the following extracts from Watch Tower publications, which prove that this is the case.  (This is just a small selection of examples.  Many more could be cited, but care has been taken to include at least one example for every decade since The Watchtower began to be published.)

1870s: We do not object to changing our opinions on any subject, or discarding former applications of prophecy, or any other scripture, when we see a good reason for the change,—in fact, it is important that we should be willing to unlearn errors and mere traditions, as to learn truth.... It is our duty to "prove all things."—by the unerring Word,—"and hold fast to that which is good."

1880s: “We have not the gift of prophecy.”[5]

 We do not even aver that there is no mistake in our interpretation of prophecy and our calculations of chronology.

Zion's Watch Tower, 1908

1890s: Nor would we have our writings reverenced or regarded as infallible, or on a par with the holy Scriptures. The most we claim or have ever claimed for our teachings is that they are what we believe to be harmonious interpretations of the divine Word, in harmony with the spirit of the truth. And we still urge, as in the past, that each reader study the subjects we present in the light of the Scriptures, proving all things by the Scriptures, accepting what they see to be thus approved, and rejecting all else. It is to this end, to enable the student to trace the subject in the divinely inspired Record, that we so freely intersperse both quotations and citations of the Scriptures upon which to build.[6]


1900s:  It is not our intention to enter upon the role of prophet to any degree, but merely to give below what seems to us rather likely to be the trend of events—giving also the reasons for our expectations.[7]


Someone may ask, Do you, then, claim infallibility and that every sentence appearing in "The Watch Tower" publications is stated with absolute correctness? Assuredly we make no such claim and have never made such a claim. What motive can our opponents have in so charging against us? Are they not seeking to set up a falsehood to give themselves excuse for making attacks and to endeavor to pervert the judgments of others?[8]


1910s:  However, we should not denounce those who in a proper spirit express their dissent in respect to the date mentioned [1914] and what may there be expected . . . We must admit that there are possibilities of our having made a mistake in respect to the chronology, even though we do not see where any mistake has been made in calculating the seven times of the Gentiles as expiring about October 1, 1914.[9]


1920s: Many students have made the grievous mistake of thinking that God has inspired men to interpret prophecy. The holy prophets of the Old Testament were inspired by Jehovah to write as his power moved upon them. The writers of the New Testament were clothed with certain power and authority to write as the Lord directed them. However, since the days of the apostles no man on earth has been inspired to write prophecy, nor has any man been inspired to interpret prophecy.[10]


1930s: We are not a prophet; we merely believe that we have come to the place where the Gentile times have ended[11]


1940s: This pouring out of God's spirit upon the flesh of all his faithful anointed witnesses does not mean those now serving as Jehovah's Witnesses are inspired. It does not mean that the writings in this magazine The Watchtower are inspired and infallible and without mistakes. It does not mean that the president of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society is inspired and infallible, although enemies falsely charge us with believing so.... But we confess with the Scriptures that the day of such inspiration passed long before 1870, as the apostle Paul showed it would. . . . Inspired speaking and writing passed away with the last of the twelve apostles, by whom the gifts of the spirit were imparted to others. Yet God is still able to teach and lead us. While confessing no inspiration for today for anyone on earth, we do have the privilege of praying God for more of his holy spirit and for his guidance of us by the bestowal of his spirit through Jesus Christ.[12]


1950s: The Watchtower does not claim to be inspired in its utterances,nor is it dogmatic. It invites careful and critical examination of its contents in the light of the Scriptures.[13]


1960s: The book [Life Everlasting in Freedom of Sons of God] merely presents the chronology. You can accept it or reject it[14]


Our chronology, however, ... is reasonably accurate (but admittedly not infallible)[15]

 Don't any of you be specific in saying anything that is going to happen between now and 1975

F. W. Franz, quoted in The Watchtower, 15 October 1966, page 231.

1970s: In this regard, however, it must be observed that this “faithful and discreet slave” was never inspired, never perfect. Those writings by certain members of the “slave” class that came to form the Christian part of God’s Word were inspired and infallible, but that is not true of other writings since. Things published were not perfect in the days of Charles Taze Russell, first president of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society; nor were they perfect in the days of J. F. Rutherford, the succeeding president. The increasing light on God’s Word as well as the facts of history have repeatedly required that adjustments of one kind or another be made down to the very present time.[16]


1980s: It is not claimed that the explanations in this publication are infallible. Like Joseph of old, we say: “Do not interpretations belong to God?” (Genesis 40:8) At the same time, however, we firmly believe that the explanations set forth herein harmonize with the Bible in its entirety, showing how remarkably divine prophecy has been fulfilled in the world events of our catastrophic times.[17]


1990s: Those who make up the one true Christian organization today do not have angelic revelations or divine inspiration. But they do have the inspired Holy Scriptures, which contain revelations of God’s thinking and will. As an organization and individually, they must accept the Bible as divine truth, study it carefully, and let it work in them.[18]


2000s: Although the slave class is defined as “faithful and discreet,” Jesus did not say that it would be infallible. This group of faithful anointed brothers still consists of imperfect Christians. Even with the best of intentions, they can be mistaken, as such men sometimes were in the first century.[19]


It’s therefore quite clear that Jehovah’s Witnesses make no claim to divine inspiration for their publications.  Thus, the critics' assertion that “the Watch Tower claims to be an inspired prophet” is manifestly false. 


Did Haydon Covington concede that the Watch Tower is a False Prophet?


Did Haydon Covington concede in the Walsh trial that the Watch Tower Society has promulgated false prophecy, as is stated by critics?  Even if he had done so, what would that have proved?  If Covington had said that the thought the Society was a false prophet, then he would have been mistaken, that is all.  However, a look at the court record (even as it is quoted on anti-Witness web pages) shows that Covington did nothing of the sort. 


 Critics' allegations that 'The Watchtower claims to be an inspired prophet' are manifestly false

The court records show that Covington said: “I do not think we have promulgated false prophecy ... there have been statements that were erroneous, that is the way I put it, and mistaken.”  When asked hypothetically if it would have been a false prophecy if the Society had authoritatively promulgated 1874 as the date for the return of Christ’s coming, Covington himself pointed out that this was only an assumption, and is then is recorded as having said the words “I agree that”.  This is an incomplete sentence in English.  Now it could very well be that he was interrupted and was not intending to agree that a false prophecy had been made.  If we take the court to read “I agree to that”, he was simply agreeing hypothetically that the Society would have been guilty of false prophecy under a certain set of circumstances, namely if it had promulgated as authoritative that Christ returned in 1874.  Now the records show that Covington had not studied the Society’s literature relating to 1874, saying “you are speaking of a matter that I know nothing of.”  So, Covington’s comments, viewed in their proper context do not prove the point Witness critics are trying to make.  Covington certainly did not mean that the Society was responsible for a false prophecy, as he had just a few moments earlier stated the very opposite.   And as we have seen, the Society did not ‘authoritatively promulgate’ 1874 as the date, it merely presented it to its readers to decide for themselves.


Of course, Witnesses do believe that God is using them - and their publications - to accomplish his work.  But that is not the same as believing that God personally directs the writing of Watchtower Publications in the way that he inspired the Bible.  The above quotations - and many others - show that at no time in the history of the organization has it claimed to be God’s prophet, inspired or infallible.[20]


It is evident here that critics are setting up a straw man argument.  In other words, they are imputing to Watch Tower a position that it does not claim for itself and then refuting that position, instead of the Society’s actual position.  This is really nothing but a dishonest debating trick.

Thus, the Watch Tower quotations, taken in context and stripped of all hyperbole and rhetoric, establish basically one thing only: that Watch Tower publications have on a number of occasions presented interpretations of Bible prophecies which later turned out to be incorrect.  It is not possible to argue on the basis of the Watchtower literature that (1) the Society claims that its literature is inspired of God or infallible, (2) that it claimed to speak in the name of God as a prophet.

Admittedly, it would certainly have been better for all concerned had the publications refrained from publishing such speculative interpretations, which doubtless led to disappointment for many.  ‘The Watchtower’, far from covering over these facts, has admitted openly that this is the case, as is seen from the following extract from The Watchtower.

In its issue of July 15, 1976, The Watchtower, commenting on the inadvisability of setting our              sights on a certain date, stated: “If anyone has been disappointed through not following this line of thought, he should now concentrate on adjusting his viewpoint, seeing that it was not the word of God that failed or deceived him and brought disappointment, but that his own understanding was based on wrong premises.” In saying “anyone,” The Watchtower included all disappointed ones of Jehovah’s Witnesses, hence including persons having to do with the publication of the information that contributed to the buildup of hopes centered on that date.[21]


Thus the Watch Tower Society has recognised that it was a mistake to speculate.  But was it the only ever religious organization to make such a mistake?


Double Standards and Bigotry


If Jehovah’s Witnesses have had mistaken expectations about the fulfillment of Bible prophecies, they are far from alone.  Many other students of the Bible - including some highly respected Catholic and Protestant writers - have made similar mistakes to Jehovah’s Witnesses.  Whole books have been written on the subject of predictions that failed to come true, but let’s look at just three examples from the world of Protestantism: Martin Luther, John Wesley and Billy Graham.


Protestant leader Martin Luther, believed that the end would come in his day.  He believed theMartin Luther Turkish war would be "the final wrath of God, in which the world will come to an end and Christ will come to destroy Gog and Magog and set free His own"?[22] and that "Christ has given a sign by which one can know when the Judgment Day is near. When the Turk will have an end, we can certainly predict that the Judgment must be at the door"[23]


John WesleyMethodist founder John Wesley wrote: "1836 The end of the non-chronos, and of the many kings; the fulfilling of the word, and of the mystery of God; the repentance of the survivors in the great city; the end of the 'little time,' and of the three times and a half; the destruction of the east; the imprisonment of Satan."[24]

In 1950, Billy Graham, the well-known US evangelist, told a rally in LosBilly GrahamAngeles: “I sincerely believe that the Lord draweth nigh.  We may have another year, maybe two years, to work for Jesus Christ, and, Ladies and Gentlemen, I believe it is all going to be over ... two years and it’s all going to be over.”[25]

If it had been Jehovah’s Witnesses who had said the things that Luther, Wesley and Graham proclaimed, these proclamations would have been added to the list of quotations supposedly proving McLoughlin, William G., 1978 Revivals, Awakenings and Reform. University of Chicago Press. Chicago. pp.185.that the Witnesses are false prophets.  Unsurprisingly, however, the sources that attack the Witnesses for false prophecy do not generally take the same position when it comes to Protestant figures who have made very similar errors.

This should give all of us food for thought.  If a newspaper editor were to publish in his paper all the crimes committed by members of just one ethnic group or race, dwelling on them in great detail, even repeatedly bringing up very old offences, but at the same time, ignoring all the crimes committed by members of another group (perhaps his own), then thinking people who looked at the facts would conclude that he was nothing but a bigot. What are we to think, then, when certain ones opposed to Jehovah’s Witnesses constantly harp on what they incorrectly and maliciously term “false prophecies” of the organization, reproducing ad nauseam the same quotations from Watch Tower literature, the majority of which were published almost 100 years ago, while remaining deadly silent about all similar errors by those who share their theological convictions?  Is the word ‘bigoted’ any less appropriate?  At any rate, their agenda is obvious and respect for the truth is not high on their list of priorities.


 Were Martin Luther, John Wesley and Billy Graham false prophets?

I do not think that the comments of Luther, Wesley or Graham make them false prophets, for the same reason that I don’t accept that the Watch Tower is a false prophet, namely, that interpreting Bible prophecy is not the same as prophesying.

Prophecy and Interpretation

It is true that Jehovah’s Witnesses believe they are being guided by God.  But, ‘guidance’ is a much broader concept than ‘inspiration’.  True, inspiration is a form of guidance, but it is only one form.   In this regard, Stafford makes a very telling point:

It cannot truthfully be said that to be inspired by God to produce flawless information is the same as being guided or lead by a flawless source, whether that source be the Scriptures or an angel sent by God. Why? Because in the former case the person is taken over by God, given a vision, revelation (sometimes in a dream), or put into a trance. The person then receives God's thoughts and will which are then channelled through the individual, providing information he or she would otherwise not have known. However, in the latter case one could simply misunderstand or ignore the directions given, which would make the accuracy of what they do or say dependent upon whether or not they correctly understood the inspired source.[26]

“Prophecy” involves much more than simply predicting the future.  It involves claiming to have a message directly from God.  It is not the same as interpreting events or even interpreting the prophetic parts of the Bible.  Russell understood this and that is why he said: “The most we claim or have ever claimed for our teachings is that they are what we believe to be harmonious interpretations of the divine Word, in harmony with the spirit of the truth”, adding “we are far from claiming any direct plenary inspiration”[27]


 The Watch Tower Society is not a false prophet, for the simple reason that it is not a prophet. 

Similarly, when Wesley drew the conclusion that the end would come in 1836, he did so on the basis of his understanding of the Bible.  Of course, this understanding turned out to be completely and utterly wrong, but that does not make him a false prophet.  When Billy Graham stated in 1950 that the end would come within two years, he was not claiming that God had personally spoken to him through a dream or a vision.  He was just stating what he believed after comparing world events with what he knew from the Bible.  No charitable person would accuse Graham of being a false prophet because of that (although it is obvious that he did make an error of judgment).  Likewise, when Luther stated that the Turkish war would lead to the end of the world, he was woefully mistaken, but that certainly does not make him a false prophet.  Incidentally, Luther, on the basis of his understanding of the Bible, also contradicted Copernicus and insisted that the earth was the centre of the universe! [28]

Thus, the Watch Tower Society is not a false prophet, for the simple reason that it is not a prophet.  It makes no claim that any of its members have heard voices from God,  seen visions or in any other way been directly influenced to make a certain proclamation beyond what is in the Bible.  It has made mistakes in explaining or interpreting parts of the Bible, but as we have seen, so have other religious organizations.

Conclusion

On the basis of the above, critics of Jehovah's Witnesses have some questions to answer:

(1) Do they think it is truthful and fair to focus on a minute selection of the Watch Tower’s published material - the most negative part - and ignore everything else?

(2) Can they cite the Watch Tower publication where the Society claims to be an “inspired prophet” (their expression, not ours).  On what do they base that conclusion, and how do they explain the dozens of quotations I have presented from the Society’s literature - from all periods of its history - where the Society denies that?[29]

(3) Why do they present the Watchtower’s statements about future events as prophetic statements, rather than what they really were - interpretations?

(4) Do they believe that others who have had mistaken expectations, including Martin Luther, John Wesley and Billy Graham, are false prophets, and if not, why not?

Jehovah’s Witnesses do not believe that they should be above honest criticism and have not hidden the fact that they have made errors in their interpretations.  But honest criticism implies respect for truth - the whole truth, not just extracts taken out of context and twisted to give an impression that they were never intended to give.

Beware of half truths.  You might end up believing the wrong half!


Footnotes and References


[1]  I am grateful to other Witness writers for bringing many of these citations to my attention.  Additionally, the book Jehovah’s Witnesses Defended, Second Edition [JWD2] by Greg Stafford contains extensive research on this matter.  Quotations from publications after 1950 are generally taken from the Watchtower Library 2003 CD-ROM.  Almost all Russell’s writings are freely available on the Internet.

[2]  Zion's Watch Tower, January 1, 1908 (reprint) page 4110

[3]  The Watch Tower, January 1, 1925, page 3.

[4]  The Watchtower, 15 October 1966, page 631.

[5]  Zion’s Watch Tower, January 1883, page 425.

[6]  Zion 's Watch Tower and Herald of Christ's Presence, 15 December 1896, reprint, 2080 (emphasis added).

[7]  "Views From the Watch Tower," Zion's Watch Tower and Herald of Christ's Presence, 1 March 1904, reprint, 3327 (emphasis added).

[8]  Zion's Watch Tower and Herald of Christ's Presence, 15 September 1909, reprint, 4473.

[9]  The Watch Tower and Herald of Christ's Presence, 15 November 1913, repr. 5348 (emphasis added).

[10]  Prophecy (Brooklyn: Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, 1929), 61-62 (emphasis added).

[11]  Light, vol. 1 (Brooklyn: Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, 1930), 194 (emphasis added).

[12]  The Watchtower, 15 May 1947, pp. 157-8.

[13]  "Name and Purpose of the Watchtower," The Watchtower, 15 August 1950, 262-263 (emphasis added)

[14]  The Watchtower, 15 October 1966, page 631.

[15]  The Watchtower, 15 August 1968, page 499.

[16]  The Watchtower, 1 March 1979, page 23-24.

[17]  Revelation - Its Grand Climax at Hand, page 9. (Published 1988)

[18]  Jehovah’s Witnesses - Proclaimers of God’s Kingdom, page 708 (Published 1993)

[19]  The Watchtower, 1 December 2002, page 17.

[20]  Occasionally, The Watchtower  (for example 1 April 1972) has referred to true Christians (not specifically to the writers of Watch Tower publications) as “prophets”.  However, the word is placed in inverted commas, which shows that it is not meant literally.  The 1972 article is simply drawing parallels between experiences in the life of the prophet Ezekiel and those of Christians today as they fulfil Christ’s commission to preach to all the nations.  This sense of the word ‘prophecy’ is recognised by many ‘mainstream’ Christians., Billy Graham’s biography is called “A prophet with Honor” .  Pope John Paul II spoke  of ‘the ‘prophetic office’ of the People of God - meaning their responsibility to give a Christian witness. (http://www.catholic-forum.com/saints/pope0264of.htm) In view of other comments (cited in the main article) in which the Society specifically repudiates prophet status, both before and after this article was published, attempts to use this article to demonstrate that the Watch Tower Society claims to be an inspired prophet are obviously misrepresenting the sense of the article.

[21] The Watchtower, 15 March 1980, page 17-18.

[22]  John T. Baldwin, "Luther's Eschatological Appraisal of the Turkish Threat in Eine Heerpredigt -wider den Tuerken [Army Sermon Against the Turks],"Andrews University Seminary Studies 33.2 (Autumn 1995), 196.

[23]  Ibid, p. 201.

[24]

    Hello guest!

[25]  McLoughlin, William G., 1978 Revivals, Awakenings and Reform. University of Chicago Press. Chicago. pp.185.  See also “US News and World Report” (December 19, 1994)

[26] Jehovah’s Witnesses Defended, Second Edition, pp. 462-3.

[27]  Zion's Watch Tower and Herald of Christ's Presence, 15 July 1899, reprint, 2506

[28]  Luther is also quoted on certain websites as having said that Jesus would return 300 years from his time.  (The Familiar Discourses of Dr. Martin Luther, trans. by Henry Bell and revised by Joseph Kerby [London: Baldwin, Craddock and Joy, 1818], pp. 7,8.)  I have not been able to verify this source, although I have no reason to doubt it.

[29] A computer search for the expression “inspired prophet” on the Watchtower 2003 CD-ROM (containing The Watchtower) since 1950 plus most other publications, revealed that the expression came up 44 times. Every single              occurrence was referring to a Bible writer.

It is easy to change the context AFTER the event.

 

The Watchtower Made FALSE Prophecies

The Watchtower Organisation Claims To Be Prophets
 
 

"So, does Jehovah have a prophet to help them, to warn them of dangers and to declare things to come?  These questions can be answered in the affirmative. Who is this prophet? . . . This "prophet" was not one man, but was a body of men and women. It was the small group of footstep followers of Jesus Christ, known at that time as International Bible Students. Today they are known as Jehovah's Christian witnesses . . . Of course, it is easy to say that this group acts as a "prophet" of God. It is another thing to prove it," (Watchtower, Apr. 1, 1972, p. 197).
 

"So, does Jehovah have a prophet to help them, to warn them of dangers and to declare things to come? 

IDENTIFYING THE "PROPHET" 
These questions can be answered in the affirmative. Who is this prophet? ... This "prophet" was not one man, but was a body of men and women. It was the small group of footstep followers of Jesus Christ, known at that time as International Bible Students. Today they are known as Jehovah's Christian witnesses. ... Of course, it is easy to say that this group acts as a "prophet" of God. It is another thing to prove it. The only way that this can be done is to review the record. Thus this group of anointed followers of Jesus Christ, doing a work in Christendom paralleling Ezekiel's work among the Jews, were manifestly the modern-day Ezekiel, the "prophet" commissioned by Jehovah to declare the good news of God's Messianic kingdom and to give warning to Christendom." Watchtower 1972 Apr 1 pp.197-199 'They Shall Know that a Prophet Was Among Them'

"commissioned to serve as the mouthpiece and active agent of Jehovah … commission to speak as a prophet in the name of Jehovah…" The Nations Shall Know that I am Jehovah" - How? pp.58,62

"… commission to speak as a "prophet" in His name…" Watchtower 1972 Mar 15 p.189

"The Watchtower is a magazine without equal in the earth …. This is not giving any credit to the magazine's publishers, but is due to the great Author of the Bible with it truths and prophecies, and who now interprets its prophecies." Watchtower 1943 Apr 15 p.127

"The Watchtower is not the instrument of any man or set of men, nor is it published according to the whims of men. No man's opinion is expressed in The Watchtower. God feeds his own people, and surely God uses those who love and serve him according to his own will. Those who oppose The Watchtower are not capable of discerning the truth that God is giving to the children of his organization, and this is the very strongest proof that such opposers are not of God's organization." Watchtower 1931 Nov 1 p.327


ADDRESS these prophecies:

 

The Nazis will destroy the British.’ (Fifth Column, p 15)

The new book titled Children will prove useful ‘in the remaining months before Armageddon’ (Watchtower, 15 September 1941, p 288)

‘The end of Nazi Fascist hierarchy will come and will mark the end forever of demon rule.’ (Watchtower, 15 December 1941, p 377)
 

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On 5/6/2016 at 7:49 AM, Ann O'Maly said:

Yikes! Maybe you need to do some research.

WT begs to differ.

*** w69 6/1 pp. 326-327 Godly Respect for Life and Blood ***
Some persons may reason that getting a blood transfusion is not actually “eating.” But is it not true that when a patient is unable to eat through his mouth, doctors often feed him by the same method in which a blood transfusion is administered? Examine the scriptures carefully and notice that they tell us to ‘keep free from blood’ and to ‘abstain from blood.’ (Acts 15:20, 29) What does this mean? If a doctor were to tell you to abstain from alcohol, would that mean simply that you should not take it through your mouth but that you could transfuse it directly into your veins? Of course not! So, too, abstaining from blood means not taking it into our bodies at all.
 

*** w63 2/15 p. 124 Carry Your Own Load of Responsibility ***
Someone may argue with you that the Scriptures are referring to the “eating” of blood but that blood is not taken into the digestive system during a transfusion. True, but the fact is that by a direct route the blood serves the same purpose as food when taken into the stomach, namely, strengthening the body or sustaining life. It is not the same as a vaccine given to a healthy person to ward off a disease. Blood is given to a weak or sick person to build him up, just as food is given to nourish him.
 

*** w51 7/1 p. 415 Questions From Readers ***
Many say receiving a transfusion is not like eating blood. Is this view sound?
A patient in the hospital may be fed through the mouth, through the nose, or through the veins. When sugar solutions are given intravenously, it is called intravenous feeding. So the hospital’s own terminology recognizes as feeding the process of putting nutrition into one’s system via the veins. Hence the attendant administering the transfusion is feeding the patient blood through the veins, and the patient receiving it is eating it through his veins. After all the artful contrivings and reasonings and quibblings are over, the bald fact remains that a goodly quantity of one creature’s blood has been deliberately taken into the system of another. That is what is forbidden by God, regardless of method.
 

Of course the watchtower disagrees.

 

Again, the Bible DISAGREES with the lieing watchtower.

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On ‎5‎/‎14‎/‎2016 at 11:12 AM, Jesus.defender said:

The Watchtower Organisation Claims To Be Prophets

"So, does Jehovah have a prophet to help them, to warn them of dangers and to declare things to come?  These questions can be answered in the affirmative. Who is this prophet? . . . This "prophet" was not one man, but was a body of men and women. It was the small group of footstep followers of Jesus Christ, known at that time as International Bible Students. Today they are known as Jehovah's Christian witnesses . . . Of course, it is easy to say that this group acts as a "prophet" of God. It is another thing to prove it," (Watchtower, Apr. 1, 1972, p. 197).

"So, does Jehovah have a prophet to help them, to warn them of dangers and to declare things to come? 

IDENTIFYING THE "PROPHET" 
These questions can be answered in the affirmative. Who is this prophet? ... This "prophet" was not one man, but was a body of men and women. It was the small group of footstep followers of Jesus Christ, known at that time as International Bible Students. Today they are known as Jehovah's Christian witnesses. ... Of course, it is easy to say that this group acts as a "prophet" of God. It is another thing to prove it. The only way that this can be done is to review the record. Thus this group of anointed followers of Jesus Christ, doing a work in Christendom paralleling Ezekiel's work among the Jews, were manifestly the modern-day Ezekiel, the "prophet" commissioned by Jehovah to declare the good news of God's Messianic kingdom and to give warning to Christendom." Watchtower 1972 Apr 1 pp.197-199 'They Shall Know that a Prophet Was Among Them'

"commissioned to serve as the mouthpiece and active agent of Jehovah … commission to speak as a prophet in the name of Jehovah…" The Nations Shall Know that I am Jehovah" - How? pp.58,62

"… commission to speak as a "prophet" in His name…" Watchtower 1972 Mar 15 p.189

"The Watchtower is a magazine without equal in the earth …. This is not giving any credit to the magazine's publishers, but is due to the great Author of the Bible with it truths and prophecies, and who now interprets its prophecies." Watchtower 1943 Apr 15 p.127

What Really Is a Prophet According to the Bible?

- When Ezekiel in a vision was told to “prophesy to the wind,” he simply expressed God’s command to the wind. (Eze 37:9, 10)

- When individuals at Jesus’ trial covered him, slapped him, and then said, “Prophesy to us, you Christ. Who is it that struck you?” they were not calling for prediction but for Jesus to identify the slappers by divine revelation. (Mt 26:67, 68; Lu 22:63, 64)

- The Samaritan woman at the well recognized Jesus as “a prophet” because he revealed things about her past that he could not have known except by divine power. (Joh 4:17-19; compare Lu 7:39.)

So, too, such Scriptural portions as Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount and his denunciation of the scribes and Pharisees (Mt 23:1-36) may properly be defined as prophecy, for these were an inspired ‘telling forth’ of God’s mind on matters, even as were the pronouncements by Isaiah, Jeremiah, and other earlier prophets.—Compare Isa 65:13-16 and Lu 6:20-25.

So while prediction, or foretelling, is not the basic thought conveyed by the root verbs in the original languages (Heb., na·vaʼʹ; Gr., pro·phe·teuʹo); yet it forms an outstanding feature of Bible prophecy.

What then can we conclude: is The Watchtower Society a "prophet"?

When it comes to "revealing God's will", the answer is YES; but when it comes to "prediction" the answer is NO.

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    • By Srecko Sostar
      Dear reader.
      You have often come across terms, God's holy spirit and God's love.
      You have also often prayed for the favor of God, among other things asking that God's holy spirit help you, guide you, to have a spirit. Some Bible passages say that God gives something to people.
      We find expressions that say how God gives:
      - his spirit without measure - John 3:34.
      - a certain measure of faith - Rom 12: 3
      - a measure of grace - Eph. 4: 7
      - measure of authority - 2 Cor. 10:13
      - a double measure of blessing - Isaiah 61: 7
      - double measure of inheritance - Deut 21:17
      - double measure for bad deeds - Rev. 18: 6
      Also how a man seeks or receives from another man:
      - double measure of spirit - 2 Cr. 2: 9
      - double honor - 1 Tim. 5:17
       
      There are also allegations relating to love. How love is given or received and under what circumstances:
      And he who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and manifest myself to him. ”- John 14:21
      For God loved the world, - John 3:16
      I love those who love me - Prov 8:17
      Your love, O LORD, reaches to the heavens - Psalm 36: 5 -7
      I have loved you with everlasting love; - Jer 31: 3
       
      From these statements we can see that love also works under certain circumstances. Sometimes it's eternal, going to heaven. Sometimes it is conditioned because he says: I will love you if you love me", "if you obey, listen me".
      Based on the paragraphs that speak of giving / receiving a spirit, I could conclude that God gives the holy spirit to those who seek it, and those whose hearts are pure receive that spirit from God. When GB claims that they make mistakes in word and deed because they are not perfect and because they are not "spirit-inspired," then that is just an excuse. When they claim that they are not "inspired by the spirit of God," that would mean that God does not give his spirit to anyone, not even to them. So, if they, as "God's elected," "anointed," cannot be "inspired," then they are actually sending the message that no one else can be "inspired." And then such a claim has the consequence, meaning, that God and his spirit are not able to be active. God works through his spirit, doesn't he? Well, he created the universe with his spirit ?! He wrote the Bible with his spirit ?! He uttered prophecies with his spirit ?! And today the spirit is unable to act on the few people sitting in Warwick?
      Does God lie when he says, "... for God gives the Spirit without limit. - John. 3:34
      Is the problem in the spirit of God? Or is it a problem in humans? :))
       
       
    • By Srecko Sostar
      GB claims how they are not "inspired". They also claim that the Organization is "spirit-guided". There is also an idea that God has always had his organization on Earth, the first being the Old Nation of Israel, and then First Assembly at the time of the Apostles, and after long centuries of darkness organization appeared again in 1879 as WT Society. So, we have three organizations in three time periods.
      Who has guided, led these organizations? We see that organizations were guided by people. The first was Moses, then the Judges and Prophets, the Kings, and then the Apostles and today is The GB. According to the present claims of this modern organization of God, it is logical to conclude that both of the previous two organizations had been guided by God by the same principles too, meaning, that no inspirational/uninspired people were at the forefront of a spirit-guided organization.
      Which tools are used to run today's organization? Thousands and thousands of pages of written text and public and private talks. All of these published texts and speeches were/are not "inspired", in fact, they presented many erroneous teachings and instructions, in the face of claims, that the organization is/was spiritually driven at the same time. So we have a God's spirit-guided organization that teaches the wrong things.
      What does this have to do with past God's organizations? In the past, members of those two perished Organizations also wrote texts and held public and private speeches. Did those texts and the words been "inspired". If we judge according to today's GB teachings and the way how God, supposedly,  leads a modern organization, we could rightly say that, how past leaders were not "inspired" when writing and gave speech. Because God has no need to "inspire" imperfect servants when He already has "spirit guided organization" :))
      What is "inspired" in that, if someone had wrote what he has seen or heard during her life? Or if they write down their memories after a few years after the event? Most of the biblical text is precisely this - writing what someone saw and heard personally or that writing came through the oral tradition, something that other people have seen, heard, and spoken in some period of time. Only in exceptional cases, the authors of certain parts of the script, claimed that the instructions/revelations/prophecy  were received through dreams, visions or God or angel directly addressed them. So, for a very small part of the text in the Bible, we can say that it is "inspired" by divine supernatural power. The vast majority of the text in the Bible is actually a retelling  of the events that have been experienced - either from oneself or from other people. And for such, there is no need for extra "inspiration", but a good memory of those who recount the event and a good memory of the one who later writes it.
      To bring claim that God, with his spirit, has led each of these three organizations, but that only the Israeli representatives (and writers) and representatives of the 1st Assembly (and the writers) had "inspired" directly with His spirit to make the written and spoken content, but how God changed his mind in the 19th century and gave up from doing the same way of managing his organization, it seems strange. Why would God be inconsistent with his principle of how to lead his earthly organizations? Why would God "inspire" Moses and the John (and all the rest between) to speak and write, but today he does not want to "inspire" his Anointed Representatives who sitting in GB? Was theirs time more difficult than today? Do not we live in the end time when all is much worst than before? :)))
      If JW  members considers that it is quite right and normal for God to lead his organization through "not inspired" texts of today's "servants of God" whose "research and knowledge was multiplied" and become far greater, clearer and safer because of more and more "Brighter Lights" that is far more advanced than before, of all what previous generations of God's servants knew and understand, then it is strange that today's texts and public speeches are so inaccurate and unsafe and need to be continually changed and corrected.
      From this WTJWORG idea of how God has kept his earthly organization in continuity since Moses' time, it is not difficult to doubt the accuracy of the texts that people have collected and incorporated into a single book, the Bible. In fact, if today's WT Society (WT is equal to God's Organization) texts contain both, accurate and incorrect things, then we could assume that the old records,  "publications" and "public and private talk" of Old Time Organizations, in their content were subject to the influence of the human factor too. The idea may seem strange and impossible (because "God with the spirit" leads his organizations) but that not give guaranties that such Organizations will not End Up in Some Form of Slavery (to inside and/or to outside Masters). Recall yourself how had ended previous 2 God's Organizations. 

      But what do you think that after 1 or 2 thousands of years from now, when we all become old dust and ashes, someone came up with the idea of choosing certain WT Society texts and create a modern "Bible" for JW?
       
    • By James Thomas Rook Jr.
      I realize there are many reasons to go to an Assembly, or Convention, and when my children were living at home they would go to others' conventions  for a variety of reasons, as well as their own.
      I would always ask them when they returned home "What did you learn that was new?" .  This was important to me as I had to work long hours to afford to finance their explorations and socialization, which I thought was important ... but I still expected them to learn something new ... and since I was paying for their travels, to tell me what was going on.
      Generally, attendance to an out of town Convention nearby would cost about $200 a day, times three days, so that would be $600.
      Now that I am retired, and my income has been cut by about 80%, it's even MORE important to me to want to get good value for the time and money I would be spending for my wife and I to spend three days, traveling out of town, to learn something of lasting value .... something worth at least three days of our time, which is painfully obviously shorter, and the what is now considerable effort and considerable expense.
      In Engineering it's important that the "Law of diminishing returns" be observed so that you do not go physically, mentally or emotionally bankrupt.
      Perhaps I am just asking for some encouragement that the effort is worth the cost and effort, and that the benefit is worth it, so if I may ask ......
      WHAT DID YOU LEARN THAT WAS NEW AT THE 2019 "LOVE NEVER FAILS" REGIONAL CONVENTION ?
      ......
       
       
    • By Srecko Sostar
      Inspired ....spirit-driven.... spirit-guided.....motivated.....to have spirit of....lead up by spirit....to feel that spirit leads us ..... spirit impelled him .... he came in the spirit....sent out by the spirit....spirit did not permit them.....bound by the spirit...he was in the spirit....carried him away in the spirit... and many more other phrases in the Bible.
      Why JW's mostly, generally think that "inspiration" is action reserved only to JHVH and Jesus or devil and demons?
      "Inspiration" is state/condition of some person soul, mind and emotions.  The biblical / religious state of inspiration comes mainly out of the will of the people. But do you think how this is something that can be  achieved/put on/force upon only by the actions of superhuman powers?
      JW's are very occupied with their religion in own life and have specific relationship to this word and have specific (organizational) understanding of the concept about this special word - inspired. They think, I think that they do think :)), about this word only in religious sense and consider how it is about or only about some sort of divinity or divine holiness (or devil evil) in background.
      Because they attach great importance to this word in only one direction, they forget that there is also a very powerful influence of another force. It's the spirit of man. JW's must recall themselves more often that people are created on the image of God. And that all people in themselves have a strong spirit (of divine source by birth and genetically inherited). This human spirit is powerful and can inspire other people (earthly spirits) around them. You, as individual can be inspired by people around you or by people about whom you hear about, you are watching, you read about. 
      Also it is interesting how some other things can inspire people. For example; nature, music, poetry, stories, events, animals, imagination.
      Please, join to this topic and give, express your thoughts. Let your spirit free and let's inspire others :)))
       
    • By Jesus.defender
      1888 "In this chapter we present the Bible evidence proving that the full end of the times of the gentiles, i.e., the full end of their lease of dominion, will be reached in A.D. 1914; and that the date will be the farthest limit of the rule of imperfect men. And be it observed, that if this is shown to be a fact firmly established by the Scriptures, it will prove; Firstly, that at that date the Kingdom of God, for which our Lord taught us to pray, saying, Thy Kingdom come, will obtain full, universal control, and that it will then be set up, or firmly established, in the earth, on the ruins of present institutions." (The Time Is At Hand, 1888, p. 76, 77)
       
       
      1889 "Be not surprised, then, when in subsequent chapters we present proofs that the setting up of the Kingdom of God is already begun, that it is pointed out in prophecy as due to begin the exercise of power in A.D. 1878, and that the 'battle of the great day of God Almighty (Rev. 16:14) which will end in A.D. 1914 with the complete overthrow of earth's present rulership, is already commenced. The gathering of the armies is plainly visible from the standpoint of God's word." (Studies in the Scriptures, Vol. 2, The Time Is At Hand, 1889 Ed., p. 101. The 1915 Edition of this texts changed "A.D. 1914" to read 'A.D. 1915')
       
    • Guest Nicole
      By Guest Nicole
      I made a donation on line at JW.ORG. Why are they using a Switzerland banking address?
    • By jpl
      Culte matinal de Février 2019
      "Avant le désastre il y a l'orgueil"
      Fev 2019 Avant desastre il y a orgueil.pdf




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